Policy

Stevens Pondering Next Indecency Moves

4/07/2005 4:06 PM Eastern

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) hasn’t decided whether blocking technology is a sufficient answer to cable indecency issues, a Stevens aide said Thursday.

Stevens was in San Francisco Sunday for a lunch with cable executives and a demonstration of how digital-cable boxes can block entire channels and block programming by rating and title.

“Chairman Stevens hasn't made any decisions yet. He received a very good explanation of cable's new approach to parental control. At this point, he is not convinced yet that this is the total answer, but he believes the cable industry is certainly working to try to find an answer,” Stevens communications director Melanie Alvord said.

Stevens has called on the cable industry to craft a new channel-tiering system to make it easier for parents to exclude indecent content. Such a voluntary move, he said, could derail efforts to pass a cable indecency law.

Earlier in the week, National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow said the industry opposed a government-mandated “family-friendly” tier and the industry wasn't volunteering now to create one.

“We are not considering a family-friendly tier as a package, as a solution,” McSlarrow said. “We are going to focus on blocking technology and education.”

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