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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50351 Find in a Library
Title: REGULATION OF TELEVISED VIOLENCE
Journal: COMMUNICATION QUARTERLY  Volume:24  Issue:4  Dated:(FALL 1976)  Pages:24-30
Author(s): S J BARAN; L J HENKE
Corporate Author: Eastern Communication Assoc
Dept of Speech Communications
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Eastern Communication Assoc
University Park, PA 16802
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PRECEDENTS AND ARGUMENTS ARE OFFERED SUPPORTING STRICTER CONTROL OF VIOLENT AND AGGRESSIVE PROGRAM CONTENT BY THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION. INDUSTRY SELF-REGULATION IS INEFFECTIVE AND SELF-SERVING.
Abstract: THE U.S. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION HAS BEEN RELUCTANT TO RESTRICT VIOLENCE CITING FIRST AMENDMENT CONSIDERATIONS BUT HAS BEEN WILLING TO REGULATE SEXUALLY OFFENSIVE MATERIALS. WHILE THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1934 DENIES THE COMMISSION CENSORSHIP POWERS, IT STATES THAT THE COMMISSION SHALL GRANT LICENSES BASED ON ITS JUDGMENT OF THE LICENSEE'S ABILITY TO SERVE THE THE PUBLC. THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH'S VIOLENCE INDEX REPORTS THAT VIOLENCE IS A MAJOR STAPLE OF TELEVISION PROGRAMMING, AND VARIOUS STUDIES INDICATE THAT THE OVERABUNDANCE OF TELEVISION VIOLENCE HAS A HARMFUL IMPACT ON VIEWERS--PARTICULARLY CHILDREN. CONGRESS AGREED THAT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO REDUCE VIOLENCE ON TELEVISION, AND THE DEBATE CENTERS AROUND GOVERNMENT STANDARDS VERSUS INDUSTRY SELF-REGULATION. DISSATISFACTION WAS EXPRESSED OVER THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS' FAMILY VIEWING PROPOSAL BECAUSE IT IS BELIEVED THAT CHILDREN WATCH TELEVISION AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT AND BECAUSE IT RELIES ON THE GOOD FAITH OF THE NETWORKS. PRECEDENT EXISTS FOR THE COMMISSION'S REGULATION OF VIOLENCE ON TELEVISION BECAUSE OF ITS ACTIVITIES IN REGULATING INDECENT AND SEXUALLY OFFENSIVE PROGRAMMING. ALSO, IF THE COMMISSION IS TO SERVE THE PUBLIC INTEREST, IT HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ASCERTAINING WHAT THAT INTEREST IS AND CANNOT IGNORE A WEALTH OF EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATING THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF TELEVISION VIOLENCE. FINALLY, SINCE THERE IS PRECEDENT FOR PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM VIEWING OBSCENITY, CHILDREN ALSO SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM VIEWING VIOLENCE. THOUGH WELL-INTENTIONED, INDUSTRY SELF-REGULATION IS SELF-SERVING; IT LEAVES A NUMBER OF STATIONS UNENCUMBERED, AND IT PERMITS THE PRESENTATION OF VIOLENCE IN AN ANTISEPTIC MANNER THAT IS POTENTIALLY MORE HARMFUL TO THE VIEWER THAN A MORE DETAILED DISPLAY MIGHT BE. REFERENCES ARE CONTAINED IN FOOTNOTES. (KJM)
Index Term(s): Child welfare; FCC regulations; Federal Communications Commission (FCC); Freedom of speech; Juvenile delinquency factors; Televisions; Violence; Violence on television
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