Skip to content

Clinton endorses ‘V-Chip’ to filter television violence

Post categories

  1. Content Restrictions
Clinton endorses 'V-Chip' to filter television violence07/31/95 WASHINGTON, D.C.--President Clinton in mid-July publicly endorsed legislation that would mandate the inclusion…


WASHINGTON, D.C.–President Clinton in mid-July publicly endorsed legislation that would mandate the inclusion of an anti-violence blocking device, known as a “V-chip,” in all new television sets.

“This is not about censorship, this is parental responsibility,” Clinton said at a conference concerning families and the media in Tennessee.

The Senate added a V-chip amendment to its telecommunications bill by a 73-26 margin in early July. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), would require television manufacturers to install an electronic chip that would scan a broadcast signal for codes, embedded by broadcasters, which identify violent programs.

The bill gives the broadcast industry one year to create a voluntary rating system; otherwise, the president would appoint a five-member committee to devise standards.

Broadcasters largely oppose the V-chip. Broadcasting & Cable Magazine described the V-chip as “put[ting] the government in the publisher’s chair.” According to the Washington Post, networks and broadcasters argue that if the government created a ratings system or forced the industry to create its own ratings system, many First Amendment problems would arise.

The House will soon consider V-chip legislation of its own in a bill sponsored by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), former chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee. (S. 652)

The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.