Television industry agrees to rate programs for violent content
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Faced with a mandate for self-regulation of violence on television, television executives pledged to have a ratings system in place by next January. The announcement was made in late February at a White House meeting between President Clinton and senior executives from the four broadcast networks and the major cable networks.
A ratings system is necessary to implement the “V-chip” provision of the recently passed Telecommunications Act. Under the act, the industry is given one year to devise its own ratings system before the government would impose its own.
The executives did not announce how the ratings system will be structured, although they indicated it would be modeled after the movie rating system.
But Peter Lundt, president of CBS, told The New York Times that “I absolutely guarantee you there will be no rating of news. That goes to the very heart of the First Amendment, and I can’t imagine even a significant discussion on that.”
According to the Times, President Clinton did not ask for a “safe harbor” period during the early evening when television programming would be restricted to family entertainment. White House officials had earlier told reporters that the topic would be raised during the meeting. Instead, the President encouraged the development of higher quality children’s shows.