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Over mature and ripe for improvement...

The US Communications Regulator publishes a report criticising the TV ratings system


Link Here 3rd June 2019
America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a report about the US TV rating classification system.

The familiar TV ratings, TVY, TV7, TVG, TVPG, TV14, TVMA are essentially self administered by the TV companies but there is an overview body called The TV Parental Guidelines (Oversight) Monitoring Board. The board describes itself:

The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board is responsible for ensuring there is as much uniformity and consistency in applying the Parental Guidelines as possible. The Monitoring Board does this by reviewing complaints and other public input and by facilitating discussion about the application of ratings among members of the Board and other relevant industry representatives. The Monitoring Board typically meets annually or more often, if necessary, to consider and review complaints sent to the Board, discuss current research, and review any other relevant issues. The Board also facilitates regular calls among industry standards and practices executives to discuss pending and emerging issues in order to promote ratings consistency across companies.

In addition to the chairman, the Board includes 18 industry representatives from the broadcast, cable and creative communities appointed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA 203 The Internet and Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and five public interest members, appointed by the Board chairman.

The chairman id Michael Powell and the board representatives are from

  • 21st Century FOX
  • ABC
  • A+E Networks
  • AMC Networks
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Call for Action
  • CBS
  • Discovery, Inc.
  • Entertainment Industries Council
  • HULU
  • Lifetime Networks
  • National PTA
  • NBC Universal
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Turner Broadcasting System
  • Univision
  • Viacom Media Networks

The TV ratings are frequently criticised, at least by morality campaign groups and recently the FCC responded by undertaking a review of the TV rating system. The FCC has just published its findings and concurs with much of the criticism. The FCC writes:

After reviewing the record as a whole, our primary conclusion is that the Board has been insufficiently accessible and transparent to the public. For example, when the Bureau began its work on this report, the Board's website did not even include a phone number that someone could call to reach it. We are pleased that this problem was recently fixed. But in our view, additional steps should be taken to increase awareness of the Board's role and the transparency of its operations. Below are suggestions along those lines that we submit for Board and industry consideration.

First, we urge the Board and the video programming industry to increase their efforts to promote public awareness of the Board and its role in overseeing the rating system. We urge the Board and the industry to increase their outreach efforts concerning the existence of the rating system and consider additional ways in which they can publicize the ability of the public to file complaints, along with instructions on how complaints can be filed. In this regard, as noted, the Board recently reactivated a telephone number for use in contacting the Board and also provides a post office box where physical mail can be sent.

Second, we suggest that the Board consider ways to inform the public regarding the number of complaints it receives, the nature of each complaint, the program and network or producer involved, and the action taken, if any, by the network/producer or the Board in response to the complaint. For instance, the Board could consider issuing an annual report on the complaints it has received about the ratings of programs, how those complaints were adjudicated, and whether complaints led to the rating of a program being changed in future airings.

Third, we suggest that the Board hold at least one public meeting, that is publicized with adequate notice, each year. This would permit the public to express their views directly to the Board and help the Board better understand public concerns regarding program ratings.

we suggest that the Board consider doing random audits or spot checks analyzing the accuracy and consistency of the ratings being applied pursuant to the TV Parental Guidelines. This information could be used, in addition to the survey data already collected by the Board, to help assess, and if necessary, improve ratings accuracy. Such information would also allow the Board and the industry to consider whether any changes are needed to the guidelines themselves to ensure that they are as helpful as possible to today's viewers, consistent with the Board's commitment.

We note the ratings system has not changed in over 20 years and, despite its longevity, many commenters contend that the rating system is not well-understood or useful to parents.

 

 

Rated TV-14 for viewers aged 14 and over, may be unsuitable for moralist campaigners...

US congress asks the FCC to report on the effectiveness of its TV content rating schme


Link Here 25th February 2019
Full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
The Parents Television Council have reported that the FCC is required to review the TV content ratings system and report on the effectiveness of the system within 90 days, as per the Appropriations Bill of 2019. Specifically, the Conference Committee Report says:

Oversight Monitoring and Rating System.-In lieu of Senate report language on oversight monitoring and rating system, the FCC is directed to report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate within 90 days of enactment of this Act on the extent to which the rating system matches the video content that is being shown and the ability of the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board to address public concerns.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

Finally, after more than 20 years, Congress is addressing the needs of families and the welfare of children by formally calling for the first-ever regulatory review of the TV Content Ratings System and its ostensible oversight. We are elated that this important legislative wording was adopted as part of the appropriations bill that funds the federal government for this fiscal year.

 

 

Word games...

The US TV censors of the FCC receive 162 complaints about explicit TV coverage of Trump's 'shithole countries' remark


Link Here 6th April 2018
US media has a bit of a downer on Donald Trump so they had great fun reporting Trump's less than diplomatic description of African states as 'shithole countries'.

Politico reporter John Hendel has revealed that US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission have received complaints from at least 162 people about the uncensored, bleep-free coverage of Trump's colourful phrase by news organizations.

Many of the viewer complaints over the controversy implored the FCC to take action against one of Trump 's favorite targets: CNN, but unfortunately for them, CNN is a cable station and is not bound by FCC strong language rules.

However this doesn't stop the FCC reporting the complaints. In a complaint report the FCC cited complaints about specific CNN journalists, such as Don Lemon and Jim Acosta, and called the network fake news. One suggested most members of the media hate Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is 'responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart'.

 

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