FTC Paves Way for Media Violence Complaints


At the urging of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission is making it easier for consumers to lodge complaints about media violence and for the agency to track and categorize those complaints.

Consumers have always been able to lodge such complaints, but this makes it easier for the FTC to study them.
Among newly created complaint categories are "ads for violent entertainment products airing or appearing in media inappropriate for children; ads containing an incorrect rating for violent content, or no rating at all; cross-marketing of violent entertainment products to children; and the sale or rental of violent entertainment products to children." The FTC will continue to refer complaints about violent programming to the FCC.

Currently there are no regulations against violence in commercials, but the FTC has been studying violence marketing, particularly to young audiences, and the complaints will help it better determine what specifically is concerning the public, said Richard Kelly of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. It could then refer a complaint to any relevant industry self-regulating body.

The marketing of a violent theatrical film during the Super Bowl drew complaints from a number of lawmakers during subsequent hearings on indecency. The Senate is preparing to vote on an indecency bill that could, among other things, create new regulations on TV violence.