| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 306 (is) To regulate commercial air tours overflying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...
S. 306 (is) To regulate commercial air tours overflying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] ...
106th CONGRESS 2d Session S. 3069 To amend the Television Program Improvement Act of 1990 to restore the applicability of that Act to agreements relating to voluntary guidelines governing telecast material and to revise the agreements on guidelines covered by that Act. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES September 19, 2000 Mr. Brownback introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To amend the Television Program Improvement Act of 1990 to restore the applicability of that Act to agreements relating to voluntary guidelines governing telecast material and to revise the agreements on guidelines covered by that Act. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Children's Protection Act of 2000''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress makes the following findings: (1) Television is seen and heard in nearly every United States home and is a uniquely pervasive presence in the daily lives of Americans. The average American home has 2.5 televisions, and a television is turned on in the average American home 7 hours every day. (2) Television plays a particularly significant role in the lives of children. Figures provided by Nielsen Research show that children between the ages of 2 years and 11 years spend an average of 21 hours in front of a television each week. (3) Television has an enormous capability to influence perceptions, especially those of children, of the values and behaviors that are common and acceptable in society. (4) The influence of television is so great that its images and messages often can be harmful to the development of children. Social science research amply documents a strong correlation between the exposure of children to televised violence and a number of behavioral and psychological problems. (5) Hundreds of studies have proven conclusively that children who are consistently exposed to violence on television have a higher tendency to exhibit violent and aggressive behavior, both as children and later in life. (6) Such studies also show that repeated exposure to violent programming causes children to become desensitized to and more accepting of real-life violence and to grow more fearful and less trusting of their surroundings. (7) A growing body of social science research indicates that sexual content on television can also have a significant influence on the attitudes and behaviors of young viewers. This research suggests that heavy exposure to programming with strong sexual content contributes to the early commencement of sexual activity among teenagers. (8) Members of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) adhered for many years to a comprehensive code of conduct that was based on an understanding of the influence exerted by television and on a widely held sense of responsibility for using that influence carefully. (9) This code of conduct, the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters, articulated this sense of responsibility as follows: (A) ``In selecting program subjects and themes, great care must be exercised to be sure that the treatment and presentation are made in good faith and not for the purpose of sensationalism or to shock or exploit the audience or appeal to prurient interests or morbid curiosity.''. (B) ``Broadcasters have a special responsibility toward children. Programs designed primarily for children should take into account the range of interests and needs of children, from instructional and cultural material to a wide variety of entertainment material. In their totality, programs should contribute to the sound, balanced development of children to help them achieve a sense of the world at large and informed adjustments to their society.''. (C) ``Violence, physical, or psychological, may only be projected in responsibly handled contexts, not used exploitatively. Programs involving violence present the consequences of it to its victims and perpetrators. Presentation of the details of violence should avoid the excessive, the gratuitous and the instructional.''. (D) ``The presentation of marriage, family, and similarly important human relationships, and material with sexual connotations, shall not be treated exploitatively or irresponsibly, but with sensitivity.''. (E) ``Above and beyond the requirements of the law, broadcasters must consider the family atmosphere in which many of their programs are viewed. There shall be no graphic portrayal of sexual acts by sight or sound. The portrayal of implied sexual acts must be essential to the plot and presented in a responsible and tasteful manner.''. (10) The National Association of Broadcasters abandoned the code of conduct in 1983 after three provisions of the code restricting the sale of advertising were challenged by the Department of Justice on antitrust grounds and a Federal district court issued a summary judgment against the National Association of Broadcasters regarding one of the provisions on those grounds. However, none of the programming standards of the code were challenged. (11) While the code of conduct was in effect, its programming standards were never found to have violated any antitrust law. (12) Since the National Association of Broadcasters abandoned the code of conduct, programming standards on broadcast and cable television have deteriorated dramatically. (13) In the absence of effective programming standards, public concern about the impact of television on children, and on society as a whole, has risen substantially. Polls routinely show that more than 80 percent of Americans are worried by the increasingly graphic nature of sex, violence, and vulgarity on television and by the amount of programming that openly sanctions or glorifies criminal, antisocial, and degrading behavior. (14) At the urging of Congress, the television industry has taken some steps to respond to public concerns about programming standards and content. The broadcast television industry agreed in 1992 to adopt a set of voluntary guidelines designed to ``proscribe gratuitous or excessive portrayals of violence''. Shortly thereafter, both the broadcast and cable television industries agreed to conduct independent studies of the violent content in their programming and make those reports public. (15) In 1996, the television industry as a whole made a commitment to develop a comprehensive rating system to label programming that may be harmful or inappropriate for children. That system was implemented at the beginning of 1999. (16) Despite these efforts to respond to public concern about the impact of television on children, millions of Americans, especially parents with young children, remain angry and frustrated at the sinking standards of television programming, the reluctance of the industry to police itself, and the harmful influence of television on the well-being of the children and the values of the United States. (17) The Department of Justice issued a ruling in 1993 indicating that additional efforts by the television industry to develop and implement voluntary programming guidelines would not violate the antitrust laws. The ruling states that ``such activities may be likened to traditional standard setting efforts that do not necessarily restrain competition and may have significant procompetitive benefits...Such guidelines could serve to disseminate valuable information on program content to both advertisers and television viewers. Accurate information can enhance the demand for, and increase the output of, an industry's products or services.''. (18) The Children's Television Act of 1990 (Public Law 101- 437) states that television broadcasters in the United States have a clear obligation to meet the educational and informational needs of children. (19) Several independent analyses have demonstrated that the television broadcasters in the United States have not fulfilled their obligations under the Children's Television Act of 1990 and have not noticeably expanded the amount of educational and informational programming directed at young viewers since the enactment of that Act. (20) The popularity of video and personal computer (PC) games is growing steadily among children. Although most popular video and personal computer games are educational or harmless in nature, many of the most popular are extremely violent. One recent study by Strategic Record Research found that 64 percent of teenagers played video or personal computer games on a regular basis. Other surveys of children as young as elementary school age found that almost half of them list violent computer games among their favorites. (21) Violent video games often present violence in a glamorized light. Game players are often cast in the role of shooter, with points scored for each ``kill''. Similarly, advertising for such games often touts violent content as a selling point--the more graphic and extreme, the better. (22) As the popularity and graphic nature of such video games grows, so do their potential to negatively influence impressionable children. (23) Music is another extremely pervasive and popular form of entertainment. American children and teenagers listen to music more than any other demographic group. The Journal of American Medicine reported that between the 7th and 12th grades the average teenager listens to 10,500 hours of rock or rap music, just slightly less than the entire number of hours spent in the classroom from kindergarten through high school. (24) Teens are among the heaviest purchasers of music, and are most likely to favor music genres that depict, and often appear to glamorize violence. (25) Music has a powerful ability to influence perceptions, attitudes, and emotional state. The use of music as therapy indicates its potential to increase emotional, psychological. and physical health. That influence can be used for ill as well. SEC. 3. PURPOSES; CONSTRUCTION. (a) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are to permit the entertainment industry-- (1) to work collaboratively to respond to growing public concern about television programming, movies, video games, Internet content, and music lyrics, and the harmful influence of such programming, movies, games, content, and lyrics on children; (2) to develop a set of voluntary programming guidelines similar to those contained in the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters; and (3) to implement the guidelines in a manner that alleviates the negative impact of television programming, movies, video games, Internet content, and music lyrics on the development of children in the United States and stimulates the development and broadcast of educational and informational programming for such children. (b) Construction.--This Act may not be construed as-- (1) providing the Federal Government with any authority to restrict television programming, movies, video games, Internet content, or music lyrics that is in addition to the authority to restrict such programming, movies, games, content, or lyrics under law as of the date of the enactment of this Act; or (2) approving any action of the Federal Government to restrict such programming, movies, games, content, or lyrics that is in addition to any actions undertaken for that purpose by the Federal Government under law as of such date. SEC. 4. EXEMPTION OF VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS ON GUIDELINES FOR CERTAIN ENTERTAINMENT MATERIAL FROM APPLICABILITY OF ANTITRUST LAWS. (a) Exemption.--Subject to subsection (b), the antitrust laws shall not apply to any joint discussion, consideration, review, action, or agreement by or among persons in the entertainment industry for the purpose of developing and disseminating voluntary guidelines designed-- (1) to alleviate the negative impact of telecast material, movies, video games, Internet content, and music lyrics containing violence, sexual content, criminal behavior, or other subjects that are not appropriate for children; or (2) to promote telecast material that is educational, informational, or otherwise beneficial to the development of children. (b) Limitation.--The exemption provided in subsection (a) shall not apply to any joint discussion, consideration, review, action, or agreement which-- (1) results in a boycott of any person; or (2) concerns the purchase or sale of advertising, including (without limitation) restrictions on the number of products that may be advertised in a commercial, the number of times a program may be interrupted for commercials, and the number of consecutive commercials permitted within each interruption. (c) Definitions.--In this section: (1) Antitrust laws.--The term ``antitrust laws'' has the meaning given such term in the first section of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 12) and includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45). (2) Internet.--The term ``Internet'' means the combination of computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media, and related equipment and software, comprising the interconnected worldwide network of computer networks that employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or any successor protocol to transmit information. (3) Movies.--The term ``movies'' means theatrical motion pictures. (4) Person in the entertainment industry.--The term ``person in the entertainment industry'' means a television network, any entity which produces or distributes television programming (including theatrical motion pictures), the National Cable Television Association, the Association of Independent Television Stations, Incorporated, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Motion Picture Association of America, each of the affiliate organizations of the television networks, the Interactive Digital Software Association, any entity which produces or distributes video games, the Recording Industry Association of America, and any entity which produces or distributes music, and includes any individual acting on behalf of such person. (5) Telecast.--The term ``telecast'' means any program broadcast by a television broadcast station or transmitted by a cable television system. SEC. 5. COMPLIANCE WITH RULEMAKING PROCEDURES REQUIRED.
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