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PTC Calls for FCC Hearings on Content Ratings

The Parents Television Counsel says it has delivered over 1,400 petitions to the FCC seeking public hearings on ways to improve the TV content ratings system.

The FCC, at the direction of Congress, has collected input on the efficacy and impact of those TV ratings identifiers--TV 14 LSV, TV PG DLS, etc.--and is scheduled to report back to Congress next week on its findings. There was no congressional requirement that the FCC hold hearings on the issue, but PTC says it should.

PTC and its followers suggest the FCC's message to Congress should be that the system has fallen short of its promises when adopted over two decades ago and needs overhauling.

"Before you finalize your report to Congress, I urge you to carefully weigh the preponderance of public comments and these petitions – filed by those for whom the ratings system was created – against the lone, hypocritical voices of entertainment industry lobbyists," wrote PTC President Tim Winter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a letter April 29.

Related: TV Content Ratings Board Reconnects Phone

The TV, cable and studio trade associations that oversee the ratings say the system has been working fine, that there have been few complaints to the monitoring board about how shows were rated, and that no overhaul is needed.

But Winter sees it much differently. “Hollywood tells parents to rely on the TV Content Ratings System to choose safe and age-appropriate television shows, just as they ask us to rely on the movie rating system," he says. "But at the same time, Hollywood profits financially from marketing explicit sex, graphic violence, and profanity to our children through TV and movies by labeling them as appropriate for children."

The FCC review included collecting comment on the ability of the governing body for TV ratings, the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board, to oversee the ratings system and address public concerns."

The associations said they are committed to reviewing the record in the proceeding and responding to the feedback in whatever ways are appropriate.