Valenti: Parents Already Can Control Indecency

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Former Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti Thursday again pushed for a widespread $250 million-$350 million, at least 18-month public-information campaign about currently available ratings and TV-blocking technologies.

Valenti said the goal was to let parents know the power they already have, which he said is total, to control the TV that goes into their homes.

At a Senate Commerce Committee indecency hearing following up on one in November, Valenti said the campaign would include AD Council PSAs, information in retail stores, TV ratings not only at the beginning of each show but coming out of each commercial break, and an information-outreach program to churches and advocacy groups.

Valenti said that the cable, satellite, programming, broadcasting and consumer-electronics industries are all on board, calling it a first for such a pan-media effort.

The key, he said, is that it is voluntary and "does not torture and torment the First Amendment."

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) applauded the information effort but said he thought that "the notion that a rating is going to make the difference is not really going to get you a lot."

Parents Television Council President Brent Bozell was unappeased, calling the education campaign an "amazing dodge" and the ratings system an "inaccurate, arbitrary mess."

Bozell said that what was needed was for the Senate to pass a twice-House passed bill upping the FCC's indecency fines.

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