Pols Want Their Family TV

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Washington -- Congress unanimously passed a measure last
Monday emphasizing the importance of "family-friendly" television programming.

The nonbinding resolution, introduced by Rep. Rob Portman
(R-Ohio), encourages programmers to expand viewing options for families.

"The average child will watch between 22 and 28 hours
of television every week -- more time than he or she will spend on any activity outside of
school," Portman said in a prepared statement. "The number of family-friendly
programs available -- particularly during primetime -- has been steadily decreasing."

Portman said networks should listen to the likes of the
Family-Friendly Programming Forum, a coalition of 33 television advertisers that sponsors
an annual awards program to recognize excellence in family-oriented television.

"While Congress cannot and should not tell the
television networks what programming to air, we can and should support the forum's
constructive, free-market approach to promoting family-friendly television," Portman
said. "That's what this resolution is about."

The National Cable Television Association agreed that
family programming was important. An NCTA spokesman claimed that cable networks provide
four times as much children's and family programming than all other programming
sources combined.

We're proud of cable's record on family
programming," NCTA spokesman Scott Broyles said in a prepared statement. "In
fact, we have entire networks dedicated to children's, family and educational
programming, while the broadcasters scour each week to meet a three-hour federal
requirement."

The measure passed in the House by a 396-0 vote. A similar
measure swept through the Senate last month.

States News Service

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