Rockefeller: TV Industry Isn’t Policing Violence

3/05/2007 12:55 PM Eastern

TV content critic Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) said Monday that action by Congress or the Federal Communications Commission is needed urgently to curb violent television programming.

“The broadcasters have already tried and failed in their attempts at self-regulation. The bottom line is, if they can’t or won’t do it, then the federal government must step up to the plate,” Rockefeller said in a prepared statement.

Rockefeller, author of legislation last year that would allow the FCC to regulate violent cable programming, said he was concerned that Republican FCC member Robert McDowell favored market solutions over regulation in tacking excessively violent TV programming.

“McDowell’s suggestion is shortsighted,” he added.

Last week, McDowell said it would be difficult to define and regulate TV violence in a manner that didn’t violate First Amendment free-speech rights. He added that parents were gaining more control over TV in their effort to filter unwanted channels.

“Overall, I think in the long run, technology and competition are going to solve this issue for parents,” McDowell said.

After Rockefeller’s statement, McDowell issued his own statement Monday saying that he was “extremely concerned” about inappropriate content on TV.

“More should be done to protect our children from indecent and violent material. While the market is developing technological solutions that may help parents control the television content that their children view, as always, Congress may deem it necessary to place restrictions on the broadcast of violent content,” McDowell said.