For most of the history of television broadcasting, advocates for quality childrens' programming have called for a larger government role in the regulation of violent content on television. Numerous studies document the large number of murders, fights, car crashes, etc. viewed by the average child in the United States and a large body of literature indicates the negative effects of this exposure on children.
While advocates call for increased government regulation and Congress has responded to some degree, e.g., The Children's Television Act of 1990, and the proposed Television Violence Report Card Act of 1995 (S. 772) Childrens' Media Protection Act of 1995 (S. 332) Children's Protection from Violent Programming Act of1995 (S. 470), broadcasters and program producers oppose such regulation on statutory and First Amendment grounds. They argue that any government regulation that "censored" programming would violate the Sec. 326 of the Communications Act of 1934 and the free speech rights of broadcasters. In addition, they argue that the content of television programming should be determined by market forces not government regulation.
Given the compelling societal interest in reducing violence in society, the demonstrated negative effect of violent programming on children and the failure of the television "marketplace" to adequately address the amount of violent programming, Congress should pass legislation limiting the amount of violent programming on television.
Bollinger, Lee C. Images of a Free Press (1991).
Spitzer, Matthew L. Seven Dirty Words and Six Other Stories (1986).
"Congress to Consider Limits on Violence," Broadcasting (September 25, 1995): 42.
Television Violence Report Card Act of 1995 (S. 772)[THOMAS]
Childrens' Media Protection Act of 1995 (S. 332)[THOMAS]
Children's Protection from Violent Programming Act of1995 (S. 470)[THOMAS]