Skip to comments.FCC chair to cable and satellite TV: Clean up your act or else
Posted on 11/29/2005 2:58:26 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON Sexed-up, profanity-laced shows on cable and satellite TV should be for adult eyes only, and providers must do more to shield children or could find themselves facing indecency fines, the nation's top communications regulator says. "Parents need better and more tools to help them navigate the entertainment waters, particularly on cable and satellite TV," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin told Congress on Tuesday.
Martin suggested several options, including a "family-friendly" tier of channels that would offer shows suitable for kids, such as the programs shown on the Nickelodeon channel.
He also said cable and satellite providers could consider letting consumers pay for a bundle of channels that they could choose themselves an "a la carte" pricing system.
If providers don't find a way to police smut on television, Martin said, federal decency standards should be considered.
"You can always turn the television off and of course block the channels you don't want," he said, "but why should you have to?"
Martin spoke at an all-day forum on indecency before the Senate Commerce Committee. It included more than 20 entertainment industry, government and public interest leaders with differing views on whether broadcast networks, cable and satellite companies need more regulation.
Cable and satellite representatives defended their operations, and said they've been working to help educate parents on the tools the companies offer to block unwanted programming. They also said "a la carte" pricing would drive up costs for equipment, customer service and marketing charges that would likely be passed to subscribers.
Others at the forum, such as the Christian Coalition, urged Congress to increase the fines against indecency on the airwaves from the current $32,500 maximum penalty per violation to $500,000.
Since the Janet Jackson "breast-exposure" at the Super Bowl nearly two years ago, indecency foes have turned up the pressure on Congress to do more to cleanse the airwaves. But efforts to hike fines have so far failed.
Even so, Committee Co-Chair Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, told the forum that lawmakers want to see the industry help protect children from indecent and violent programming.
"If you don't come up with an answer, we will," he said.
Congress is considering several bills that would boost fines.
Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said some critics have complained the bills don't go far enough and that decency standards should be expanded to cover cable and satellite.
Currently, obscenity and indecency standards apply only to over-the-air broadcasters. Congress would need to give the FCC the authority to police cable and satellite programming.
Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said the government doesn't need to intervene, and that there's more room for self regulation.
Some lawmakers also complained about the TV ratings system and said it was too confusing for parents. But broadcasters said they weren't ready to give up on the V-chip and the ratings system it uses to help identify programs with sex, violence or crude language.
Jack Valenti, the former president of the Motion Picture Association of America, cautioned lawmakers to let the industry come up with a solution. Otherwise, he said, "you begin to torment and torture the First Amendment."
Consumers to FCC: go pound sand.
Mr. Martin - Sit down and get to know your V-chip, you moron.
Thank God Government's rescuing my sorry self for not being smart enough to change the channel or turn it off.
But, but, but, running around nude on TV is FREE SPEECH!
And they want me to pay for more channels of programming that's even worse? I don't so...
More time wasting and bloviating from people with nothing better to do.
"FReeper" = a self-described conservative who thinks the idea of shielding children from harmful or inappropriate material is contemptible. Syn. "bilious old fart"
Theres way to much smut on TV and the sad fact is that most parents let their TVs raise their children. Im glad to see the FCC do something about this.
> Mr. Martin - Sit down and get to know your V-chip, you moron.
Trouble is, for most viewers, all channels are channel
"3" at the input to the actual TV (where the V-chip is).
However, many set-top boxes have equivalent capability.
We recently fired Dish, and told them
"call us back when you get a'la carte".
The problem here wasn't young family member stumbling
into porn, but the bill-payer (me) objecting to paying
for crap we never watch, including Legacy Media "news"
channels, many seriously slimy leftist propaganda channels
(but also all the sports, and most of the tunes).
The cable and DBS ops can make these pols go away by
offering a'la carte. If they do it cleverly, they can
even make MORE money in the post-alc epoch.
So what do they have against alc?
Set-top boxes needing to be swapped out?
Can't force-feed us lib jive channels anymore?
And the Bible! You know there is stuff in there about whores and sex?!? I can't believe some people expose their kids to this stuff!
I just hope the FCC sets its sights a little higher than just cable television. Some of the smut out there is just absurd.
Now let the FCC clean up the screens used by the veiwing public. By that, I mean get rid of ALL of those obnoxious, view-obstructing, plasma tv screen ruining, on-screen station logos. Give us, the veiwing public the choice of either having or not having them on our screens. Extend that to all electronics with a tuner. We are smarter than what THEY think we are. If anyone has a program recorded from 10 to 15 years ago, you will notice no logos, or very few of them. It's gotten to be a joke. When I watch the tube, all I want to see is the presentation. Not a lot of logos. Give us back our unobstructed view of the matter being presented.
I like steak and don't like seafood. Therefore, all seafood restaurants should be required to serve steak. Sure, I could always just not go to restaurants that don't, but why should I have to?
Amen. I'm looking forward to the day I can dump CNN and all the Spanish channels our cable company keeps adding. Thanks to cable, illegals will never have to learn English.
They want their porno on demand, not have to get dressed and drive 5 miles for their kicks!
Did someone say CABLE and SATELLITE?
The FCC should go take a flying leap. They have no jurisdiction whatsoever.
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