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| | |-+  PTC says TV ratings can't be trusted for program content
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Author Topic: PTC says TV ratings can't be trusted for program content  (Read 931 times)
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« on: April 26, 2007, 11:58:20 AM »

PTC says TV ratings can't be trusted for program content

Inconsistency in age-appropriateness and content designators form the basis for problems that The Parents Television Council (PTC) says have persisted in the broadcast television industry's program ratings system. And the Council says its recently-released study, one of seven such studies on the ratings since they were implemented in the '90s, found no improvement.

The current TV ratings system and its companion "V-chip" technology have been called a "sham," based on the most recent study by Parents Television Council of the accuracy and effectiveness of the two measures together in protecting America's families and children at home. The PTC analyzed 608 prime-time programs on six networks from the November 2006 and February 2007 sweeps periods, and found the majority of the programming lacked one or more of the needed content descriptors warning viewers about sexual content, foul language, or violence.

Senior program director Melissa Caldwell says the broadcast and cable networks insist that the TV ratings and V-chip are sufficient to protect children from inappropriate content and have launched a $550 million public service educational campaign for both. However, the PTC's analysis suggests that the ratings and V-chip system are simply not doing the job.

"What we've found with this study," Caldwell notes, "is that the content descriptors, which are supposed to work in conjunction with the V-chip to block offensive content, were missing on two-thirds of the shows containing sex, foul language, violence or suggestive dialogue. So parents who are relying on the V-chip to protect their children from inappropriate content are going to be disappointed at least two thirds of the time."

Also, the PTC spokeswoman points out, unlike the Motion Picture Association of America, there is no television oversight body with an independent standard for application of the ratings, leaving each network free to vary in how it rates its own programs. She says that means age and content descriptors for programs are not standardized throughout television.

"There is no consistency, not only within the network, in how those ratings are applied, but across networks -- it's all over the place," Caldwell says. "So content that on one network might warrant a V-descriptor, on another network might not," she notes. "Or content that might get a TV-14 on one network might only get a TV-PG on another."

Without that consistency, Caldwell insists, the networks' premise that blocking technology has made decency laws outdated is false. According to the PTC, its study proves that the "sham" TV ratings system is "meant to keep Congress at bay" while the networks increase more violence, profanity and sexual content on the airwaves.

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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