A top staffer says House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will most likely hold hearings on the media's food marketing to kids, but says that the issue now is timing--whether to hold them before or after a government-industry task force on childhood obesity and food marketing makes its recommendations to Congress, which is targeted for mid-summer.
Markey had asked FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Deborah Taylor Tate and Michael Copps, all members of the task force, whether they supported limiting or eliminating food ads in children’s television and asked them to initiate a rulemaking. The three said last week that they would wait for the task force recommendations, but that if those weren’t tough enough, the FCC was ready to step in.
They also said they would entertain the notion of disqualifying kids TV shows with snack food ads from the FCC’s educational/informational category. The FCC requires stations to air three hours of educational kids shows per week.
Markey responded that he didn’t think the FCC should wait until the task force was done to open an inquiry, which suggests the hearings could come sooner than later.