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Survey Says: Don't Crack Down on Content

According to a study from TV network-funded TV Watch, only 12% of respondents say that the government should decide what's appropriate TV.

TV Watch points out that is less than the 20% in another poll who believe in alien abductions.

When asked whether "people should be able to choose for themselves what they watch in their own homes," or whether  "it's time for the FCC to penalize the networks and increase government control and enforcement" because "broadcast television and radio have gone too far," 78% said they should be the ones in control, with only the above 12% supporting a government crackdown.

Even more--76%--said they would be upset if government regulation "limited the programming choices available to them."

"For too long, activists have gone unchallenged as they pressure the government to control broadcast television content, even though their idea of control has very little public support," said TV Watch Executive Director Jim Dyke.

The study also found that two thirds (665), said the FCC "should not decide what kind of language is necessary in an artistic or educational work." That came in response to a question pointing to the FCC's fining of a PBS documentary on blues musicians who used the f-word.

A majority (64%) said that it was "futile" for the government to fine broadcast networks for shows that could be found on cable, satellite, or the Internet, while 73% said that a single complaint shouldn't be enough to trigger investigations and fines for shows "that thousands of viewers enjoyed without complaining."

The poll was a telephone survey of 501 people conducted by Russell Research March 24-26.

TV Watch is backed by all the Big Four nets except ABC, as well as various other groups. It was launched primarily as an online effort to counter the e-mail complaint-powered lobby for a crackdown on indecency. It promotes parental control, particularly the v-chip/ratings system.