Powell: Can we do that? - Broadcasting & Cable

Powell: Can we do that?

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Critics of TV violence are urging Federal Communications Commission chairman
Michael Powell to restrict on-screen mayhem, like sexually explicit and raunchy
programming, but the top industry regulator said Wednesday that he isn't sure if the
agency has the authority to move on its own.

"There may be room for more effective indecency enforcement," Powell said.
"But it's more complicated than just transforming the definition of indecency
in a manner that we would see fit."

Powell's comments came after Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and FCC commissioner Michael
Copps urged the agency to make reduction of television violence a priority and
noted what they said is a growing body of scientific evidence indicating a link
between TV violence and violent behavior among children.

To give the FCC a little more power, Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) introduced a bill
Tuesday that would ban violent programming during hours when children are likely to
be watching unless coded with ratings that trigger the V-chip channel-blocking
technology.

Hollings introduced similar legislation in the past five congressional
sessions.

"Violence in the media begets violence by our youths, and we have an
obligation to address this societal problem head-on," he said on the Senate
floor. "We know commercial interests will not, so we must."

Co-sponsors are Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and
Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

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