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FCC Report in Response to the 'Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007' Raises More Questions than it Answers

by Staff
September 2, 2009
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NEW YORK, ( -- Yesterday, the FCC issued a Report, pursuant to the "Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007," which directed the Commission to provide an assessment of the current state of the marketplace with respect to, among other things, the existence and availability of advance blocking technologies and the availability and use of parental empowerment tools.

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, had the following comments:

1. The scope and complexity of the FCC Report are an indication of how daunting the task is that parents now face if they want to protect their children from harmful content on broadcast TV, cable and satellite TV, DVD players, VCRs, radio, satellite radio, MP3 players, videogames, PC's, laptops, and mobile devices, not to mention films shown in mainstream theaters.

2. The FCC Report does not discuss the problem of parents who do not speak English or are illiterate, who are "technophobic" or physically or mentally disabled, who are naive or indifferent, or who are neglectful or abusive. Nor does it discuss how even capable and diligent parents can be expected to shield their children outside the home from access to media content that parents have no control over or from the influence of other children whose parents aren't as capable and diligent as they are.

3. The FCC Report dismisses age verification technologies out of hand. It also fails to discuss approaches that would require TV, satellite radio and Internet subscribers to request access to "adult content," instead of requiring parents to opt out.

4. The FCC Report acknowledges that existing ratings and technological solutions have their drawbacks, but fails to acknowledge such ratings and technological solutions have been an abject failure. Nor does it explain why we should assume that more of the same would work now.

5. The FCC Report indicates that solutions which could have promise (e.g., a universal rating system, access to multiple ratings, and blocking technology that applies across all media platforms) will not be adopted either because of technological limitations or because courts may invalidate them or because opponents have too much political clout in Washington. But if what might work best won't be enacted or upheld, why should we expect what has already been a failure to work?

6. The FCC Report is to be commended for expressing support for the broadcast indecency law.

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