FCC Commissioner Adelstein Outlines Broad Agenda to Protect Children from "Inappropriate" Media Content

At a wide-ranging speech to the Media Institute on Tuesday, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein outlined a broad range of steps he believes the government should take to "protect children in the digital age."  The speech was entitled: "Stuck in the Mud: Time to Move an Agenda to Protect America's Children" and Adelstein argued that too many parents are "frustrated by a seemingly relentless march of coarse material that is too violent, too sexual, too commercial or too unhealthy for their children."

Commissioner Adelstein laid out a broad range of proposals and urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take several specific steps, including:

  • To require that all TV content, both programming and commercials, be rated so that parents can block all messages coming into their homes;
  • To launch a formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to impose new restrictions on product placement in children's programming (he said there is already a three vote majority of the Commission for this);
  • To launch a new rulemaking to impose serious restrictions on interactive ads targeting children.

ANA has always supported private-sector, technological tools to empower parents to control the content of the media their children view.  We have also worked closely with the media and entertainment community for a decade to help promote family friendly TV programming through the Family Friendly Programming Forum

However, we have serious concerns about several of the proposals of Commissioner Adelstein, which would raise serious First amendment issues and significant policy concerns if imposed by the government.  We will continue to closely monitor developments in this area.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Dan Jaffe (djaffe@ana.net) or Keith Scarborough (kscarborough@ana.net) in ANA's Washington, DC office at (202) 296-1883.