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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

February 11, 1998


FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani, in a speech to the Puerto Rican Congress on Television Violence in San Juan, PR, today said it is "First and most clearly . . . the obligation of the parents to protect their children from television programming they believe is inappropriate." She also assured them that the FCC can help "give parents the tools to protect their children from material that they believe is inappropriate. . . [and] can help make sure that parents have a good alternative to violent programming."

While parents have the primary responsibility to protect children from inappropriate programming, Commissioner Tristani also noted the responsibilities of the entertainment industry to acknowledge the importance of reducing the level of violence on programs that children watch, and of society to convey to the industry, to children and to each other that harmful violence in such programming will not be tolerated.

She noted that government was providing two important tools to help parents -- the V-chip and rules requiring a minimum level of quality children's programming.

She said, "I believe . . . [the V-chip] is fully consistent with the First Amendment. . . I'm a strong believer in free speech. But I'm also a strong believer in the health and well-being of our children. I do not believe these goals are mutually exclusive."

"In addition to letting parents protect their kids from programming they don't want them to see, the FCC has also developed rules to encourage the development of programming that parents actually do want their kids to see. These rules are based on the Children's Television Act of 1990," she said.

"I challenge parents to take an interest in the programs their children are watching and talk about the content of the programs and commercials with their children. Parents should also contact their local stations. Let them know what you like and don't like about their programming. I also challenge those in the entertainment industry -- substantially reduce the violent content in programs that children watch and voluntarily include in violent programming the very real consequences of violent acts and punishment for the perpetrator."

"Finally, I challenge each of us to speak out publicly and say that violence in programs that children watch will no longer be tolerated."