McDowell Says He Does Not Oppose Violence Regs

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Saying he had been "mischaracterized" in some press accounts last week, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said Monday that he was not opposed to a legislative effort to give the FCC authority to regulate violence, but that if Congress did chose to do so, it should be cautious and constitutional.

After Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) issued a statement calling "shortsighted" what had been reported as McDowell's opposition to a congressional effort--Rockefeller is introducing a bill to give the FCC that authority--McDowell wanted to set the record straight.

His initial comments had come in a question-and-answer session at an NAB legislative conference last week.

“As a father of two young children with a third on the way, I am extremely concerned about the coarsening of television content," he said in a statement to B&C.

"More should be done to protect our children from indecent and violent material. While the market is developing technological solutions that may help parents control the television content that their children view, as always, Congress may deem it necessary to place restrictions on the broadcast of violent content. However, should the federal government pursue the noble endeavor of protecting America’s children from television violence, it should do so in a prudent and cautious manner that withstands constitutional muster.”

The FCC is preparing to issue a report to Congress on violence that will likely say that TV violence is on the rise, is a problem, and that Congress has the power to change the indecency definition to include violence.

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