[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 178 (Monday, September 15, 1997)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48281-48286]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-24354]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

[CS Docket No. 97-55; FCC 97-321]


Commission Seeks Comment on Revised Industry Proposal for Rating 
Video Programming

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Commission has adopted a public notice requesting comment 
on the revised industry proposal for the establishment of a voluntary 
video programming rating system. The revised industry proposal changes 
some of the descriptors associated with the age-based categories of 
programming, and in certain categories, adds symbols that indicate the 
type of material included in a particular program. In addition, the 
revised proposal states that the icons and associated content symbols 
will appear for 15 seconds at the beginning of all rated programming 
and that the size of the icons will be increased. According to the 
revised proposal, five representatives of the advocacy community will 
also be added to the

[[Page 48282]]

Oversight Monitoring Board, which was established under the original 
proposal to ensure that television programming ratings are applied 
accurately and consistently. The Public Notice requests comment as to 
whether the revised industry proposal meets the standards set forth in 
section 551(e) of the 1996 Act.

DATES: Submit comments on or before October 6, 1997. Submit reply 
comments on or before October 20, 1997.

ADDRESSES: Send comments and reply comments to: Office of the 
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M Street, N.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20554. In addition, interested parties may send 
comments and reply comments on diskette to Rick Chessen, Cable Services 
Bureau, 1919 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. Informal comments 
may be sent to the Office of the Secretary or via electronic mail to: 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Chessen, Cable Services Bureau, 
(202) 418-7200.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The main text of this Public Notice is 
included below. The full text of this Public Notice is available for 
inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC 
Reference Center (Room 239), 1919 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 
20554, and may be purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 
International Transcription Services, Inc. (202) 857-3800, 1919 M 
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
    1. On January 17, 1997, the National Association of Broadcasters 
(``NAB''), the National Cable Television Association (``NCTA'') and the 
Motion Picture Association of America (``MPAA'') submitted a joint 
proposal to the Commission describing a voluntary system for rating 
video programming (the ``industry proposal''). On February 7, 1997, the 
Commission issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the industry 
proposal. See Public Notice, Commission Seeks Comment on Industry 
Proposal for Rating Video Programming, CS Docket No. 97-55, FCC 97-34, 
12 FCC Rcd. 3260 (February 7, 1997); Public Notice, Modification of 
Industry Proposal for Rating Video Programming, CS Docket No. 97-55, DA 
97-518, 12 FCC Rcd. 3135 (March 12, 1997)(noting change in symbol for 
the category ``Mature Audience Only'' from ``TV-M'' to ``TV-MA''). The 
Commission subsequently received formal and informal comments from 
interested parties regarding the industry proposal.
    2. On August 1, 1997, NAB, NCTA and MPAA notified the Commission 
that certain elements have been added to the video programming ratings 
system described in the January 17, 1997 industry proposal (the 
``revised industry proposal''). Generally, the revised industry 
proposal changes some of the descriptors associated with the age-based 
categories of programming and, in certain categories, adds symbols that 
indicate the type of material included in a particular program. The 
revised industry proposal states that the revised guidelines are 
supported by leading family and child advocacy groups, as well as 
television broadcasters, cable systems and networks, and television 
production companies.
    3. Under the revised industry proposal, television programming 
would continue to fall into one of six categories, with symbols added 
indicating the particular content of each program, as appropriate. For 
programs designed solely for children, the general categories are:
    TV-Y (All Children--This program is designed to be appropriate for 
all children). Whether animated or live-action, the themes and elements 
in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, 
including children from ages 2-6. This program is not expected to 
frighten younger children.
    TV-Y7 (Directed to Older Children--This program is designed for 
children age 7 and above). It may be more appropriate for children who 
have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between 
make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this program may 
include mild fantasy or comedic violence, or may frighten children 
under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may wish to consider the 
suitability of this program for their very young children. Note: For 
those programs where fantasy violence may be more intense or more 
combative than other programs in this category, such programs will be 
designated TV-Y7-FV.
    For programs designed for the entire audience, the general 
categories are:
    TV-G (General Audience--Most parents would find this program 
suitable for all ages). Although this rating does not signify a program 
designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger 
children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no 
violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or 
situations.
    TV-PG (Parental Guidance Suggested--This program contains material 
that parents may find unsuitable for younger children). Many parents 
may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may 
call for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of 
the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), 
infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive dialogue (D).
    TV-14 (Parents Strongly Cautioned--This program contains some 
material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 
years of age). Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in 
monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children 
under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more 
of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), 
strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).
    TV-MA (Mature Audience Only--This program is specifically designed 
to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children 
under 17). This program contains one or more of the following: graphic 
violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or crude indecent language 
(L).
    4. The revised industry proposal also states that the icons and 
associated content symbols will appear for 15 seconds at the beginning 
of all rated programming, and that the size of the icons will be 
increased from those shown currently. In addition, the revised industry 
proposal states that five representatives of the advocacy community 
will be added to the Oversight Monitoring Board. The Oversight 
Monitoring Board was established in the original industry proposal to 
ensure that the ratings are applied accurately and consistently to 
television programming. The ratings information will continue to be 
supplied by cable network and television stations to newspapers and 
publishers of printed and electronic program guides so that the ratings 
can be included in program guides, and local television stations will 
retain the right to substitute the rating they deem appropriate for 
their audience for ratings assigned by producers and distributors. The 
guidelines will be applied to all television programming except for 
news, sports and unedited MPAA-rated movies that are shown on premium 
cable channels. The latter will continue to carry their original MPAA 
ratings and the additional advisories currently used by several premium 
services.
    5. The above is only a general description of certain aspects of 
the revised industry proposal. For a more

[[Page 48283]]

detailed description, interested parties are directed to review a 
complete copy of the revised industry proposal. The revised industry 
proposal is attached to this Public Notice as an Appendix. Copies may 
also be obtained from the Commission's Public Reference Room, Room 239, 
1919 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., or from the Commission's 
Internet site (http:\\www.fcc.gov\vchip), or by calling ITS, the 
Commission's transcription service, at (202) 857-3800.
    6. Under section 551(e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the 
``1996 Act''), the Commission must determine, in consultation with 
appropriate public interest groups and interested individuals from the 
private sector, whether: (1) Video programming distributors have 
established, within one year of the 1996 Act's enactment, voluntary 
rules for rating video programming that contains sexual, violent or 
other indecent material about which parents should be informed before 
it is displayed to children; (2) such voluntary rules are acceptable to 
the Commission; and (3) video programming distributors have agreed 
voluntarily to broadcast signals that contain ratings of such 
programming. If the Commission determines that the industry proposal 
fails to satisfy these criteria, the Commission must establish: (1) On 
the basis of recommendations from an advisory committee, guidelines and 
recommended procedures for the identification and rating of video 
programming that contains violent, sexual or other indecent material 
about which parents should be informed before it is displayed to 
children; and (2) in consultation with the television industry, rules 
requiring the distributors of video programming that has been rated to 
transmit such rating to permit parents to block the display of video 
programming that they have determined is inappropriate for their 
children.
    7. Interested parties are invited to comment on whether the revised 
industry proposal meets the standards set forth in section 551(e) of 
the 1996 Act. In particular, we seek comment on: (1) Whether video 
programming distributors have established voluntary rules for rating 
video programming that contains sexual, violent or other indecent 
material about which parents should be informed before it is displayed 
to children; (2) whether such voluntary rules are ``acceptable''; (3) 
whether video programming distributors have agreed voluntarily to 
broadcast signals that contain such ratings; (4) whether the revised 
industry proposal satisfies Congress' concerns in enacting the statute; 
and (5) whether the Commission should determine the acceptability of 
any alternative ratings systems used by video programming distributors. 
We will incorporate the comments filed regarding the original industry 
proposal in the record for the revised industry proposal, although we 
encourage parties to file new or revised comments to the extent they 
are concerned with elements of the industry proposal that have been 
modified.
    8. To file formal comments in this proceeding, interested parties 
must file an original plus four copies of all comments in CS Docket No. 
97-55. If an interested party would like each Commissioner to receive a 
personal copy of its comments, it must file an original plus nine 
copies. Comments are due on October 6, 1997, and reply comments are due 
on October 20, 1997. Interested parties should send comments and reply 
comments to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications 
Commission, 1919 M Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20554.
    9. Parties are also asked to submit formal comments and reply 
comments on diskette. Such diskette submissions would be in addition 
to, and not a substitute for, the formal filing requirements addressed 
above. Interested parties submitting diskettes should submit them to 
Rick Chessen of the Cable Services Bureau, 1919 M Street, N.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20554. Such a submission should be on a 3.5 inch 
diskette formatted in an IBM compatible form using MS DOS 5.0 and 
WordPerfect 5.1 software. The diskette should be submitted in ``read 
only'' mode. The diskette should be clearly labeled with the party's 
name, the words ``Video Programming Ratings Proposal,'' the docket 
number of the Commission proceeding, the type of pleading (comments or 
reply comments), the name of the file(s), and the date of submission. 
The diskette should be accompanied by a cover letter. The Commission 
will post all submissions received on diskette on its Internet site 
(http:\\www.fcc.gov\vchip).
    10. Interested parties wishing to file informal comments in this 
proceeding may send them to the Office of the Secretary at the address 
noted above, or may send them via electronic mail to: [email protected] 
(this electronic mail address is also accessible through the 
Commission's Internet site). The Commission will post electronic mail 
submissions in their entirety on its Internet site. All formal and 
informal comments will be available for public inspection during 
regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Room 239, Federal 
Communications Commission, 1919 M Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20554.
    11. This proceeding will be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' 
proceeding subject to the ``permit-but-disclose'' requirements under 
Sec. 1.1206(b) of the rules. 47 CFR 1.1206(b), as revised. Ex parte 
presentations are permissible if disclosed in accordance with 
Commission rules, except during the Sunshine Agenda period when 
presentations, ex parte or otherwise, are generally prohibited. Persons 
making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that a memorandum 
summarizing a presentation must contain a summary of the substance of 
the presentation and not merely a listing of the subjects discussed. 
More than a one or two sentence description of the views and arguments 
presented is generally required. See 47 CFR 1.1206(b)(2), as revised. 
Additional rules pertaining to oral and written presentations are set 
forth in section 1.1206(b).
    12. Accordingly, notice is hereby given of the Commission's 
consideration of the revised industry proposal submitted by NAB, NCTA 
and MPAA, and comment is sought regarding such proposal.
    Action by the Commission, September 8, 1997, by public notice (FCC 
97-321), Chairman Hundt, Commissioners Quello, Ness and Chong.

Federal Communications Commission.
Shirley S. Suggs,
Chief, Publications Branch.

Appendix

August 1, 1997.

Mr. William F. Caton, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 
1919 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20554
Re: CS Docket No. 97-55

    Dear Mr. Caton: We are formally notifying the Commission by this 
letter of certain elements we are adding to the system of parental 
guidelines that the television industry submitted on January 17, 
1997. The additions we describe below are supported by television 
broadcasters, cable systems and networks, and television production 
companies. We are also pleased that the revised guidelines are 
supported by leading family and child advocacy groups. These 
supplements to the existing system of guidelines will be 
implemented, apart from provisions dealing specifically with the 
``V-chip,'' by October 1 of this year.
    We are attaching a description of the amended system and 
statements of the television industry and family and child advocacy 
groups concerning the revised voluntary TV Parental Guidelines, as 
well as the agreement between the television

[[Page 48284]]

industry and the advocacy community concerning additions to the 
Guidelines.1
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    \1\ We are also providing a copy of this submission and the 
attachments on diskette to the Cable Services Bureau.
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    We are changing some of the descriptors associated with the six 
age-based categories of television programming and, in certain 
categories, adding symbols describing the type of material that is 
included in a particular program. The program categories we will use 
after October 1 are: The following categories apply to programs 
designed solely for children:
    TV-Y  All Children. This program is designed to be appropriate 
for all children. Whether animated or live-action, the themes and 
elements in this program are specifically designed for a very young 
audience, including children from ages 2-6. This program is not 
expected to frighten younger children.
    TV-Y7  Directed to Older Children. This program is designed for 
children age 7 and above. It may be more appropriate for children 
who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish 
between make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this 
program may include mild fantasy violence or comedic violence, or 
may frighten children under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may 
wish to consider the suitability of this program for their very 
young children. Note: For those programs where fantasy violence may 
be more intense or more combative than other programs in this 
category, such programs will be designated TV-Y7-FV.
    The following categories apply to programs designed for the 
entire audience:
    TV-G  General Audience. Most parents would find this program 
suitable for all ages. Although this rating does not signify a 
program designed specifically for children, most parents may let 
younger children watch this program unattended. It contains little 
or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue 
or situations.
    TV-PG  Parental Guidance Suggested. This program contains 
material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many 
parents may want to watch it with their younger children. The theme 
itself may call for parental guidance and/or the program contains 
one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual 
situations (S), infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive 
dialogue (D).
    TV-14  Parents Strongly Cautioned. This program contains some 
material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 
14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care 
in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting 
children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains 
one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual 
situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive 
dialogue (D).
    TV-MA  Mature Audience Only. This program is specifically 
designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for 
children under 17. This program contains one or more of the 
following: graphic violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or 
crude indecent language (L).
    These refinements maintain the broad six-category structure of 
the system of ratings we previously submitted to the Commission and 
add symbols indicating the particular content of each program, as 
appropriate. Together, the category and program-specific content 
indicators will provide parents with information that will help them 
make informed decisions about what their children should watch on 
television.
    The icons and associated content symbols will appear for 15 
seconds at the beginning of all rated programming, and the size of 
the icons will be increased from those shown presently.
    In addition, five representatives of the advocacy community will 
be added to the monitoring board which we have established to ensure 
that the Guidelines are applied accurately and consistently to 
television programming. This will provide input from representatives 
of parents and family and child advocacy groups about the way in 
which the Guidelines operate in practice.
    Consistent with the operation of the TV Parental Guidelines 
since January, cable networks and television stations will supply 
ratings information to newspapers and publishers of printed and 
electronic program guides so that the ratings can be included in 
program guides. Also unchanged is the right of local television 
stations to substitute the rating they deem appropriate for their 
audience for ratings assigned by producers and distributors. The TV 
Parental Guidelines will continue to apply to all television 
programming except for news and sports and unedited MPAA-rated 
movies that are shown on premium cable channels. The latter will 
continue to carry their original MPAA ratings and the additional 
advisories currently used by several premium services.
    Section 551(e)(1) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 
No. 104-104, requires the Commission to determine if ``distributors 
of video programming have * * * established voluntary rules for 
rating video programming that contains sexual, violent, or other 
indecent material about which parents should be informed,'' and that 
the industry-adopted ratings system is ``acceptable.'' As we pointed 
out in submitting the TV Parental Guidelines on January 17 and in 
comments submitted on May 8, 1997, the ratings system we adopted 
achieved Congress' goals of providing information that would give 
parents an effective tool to control their children's television 
viewing, a tool whose effectiveness would become even greater when 
the ``V-chip'' becomes available.
    By adding information to the Guidelines, parents will have 
additional information to help them decide which television programs 
their children will watch. Parents who wish to prevent their 
children from seeing a whole category of programs oriented in theme 
or content to older viewers will be able to do so; parents who 
instead are interested in controlling their children's access to 
particular types of content will also be provided with the 
information they need. Each network or television station also will 
continue to have the right to provide additional advisories to 
parents when they believe their audience will benefit from 
particular information about a specific program.
    When coupled with the ``V-chip,'' the TV Parental Guidelines 
will allow parents flexible options to ensure that their children 
see only the programs that they deem suitable for them. The content 
symbols added to the ratings categories meet many of the concerns 
expressed in comments to the Commission,2 and the 
addition of representatives of advocacy groups to the Oversight 
Monitoring Board address the concerns of others that decisions about 
ratings should reflect input from outside the television 
industry.3
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    \2\ See, e.g., Comments of the Center for Media Education, CS 
Dkt. No. 97-55 (April 8, 1977); Comments of the National Association 
for Family and Community Education, CS Dkt. No. 97-55 (April 8, 
1977).
    \3\ See, e.g., Comments of Morality in Media, CS Dkt. No. 97-55 
(April 8, 1977).
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    The TV Parental Guidelines are voluntary and broadly supported 
by the television industry which has pledged to begin transmitting 
ratings information on line 21 of the Vertical Blanking Interval 
(VBI) within six months. While the Telecommunications Act 
contemplated that a ratings system would be incorporated into the 
``V-chip,'' Congress specifically eschewed any requirement that 
distributors of programming be required to use that system. The 
Commission is only authorized to require transmission of blocking 
codes ``with respect to video programming that has been rated.'' 47 
U.S.C. Sec. 303(w)(2). The Conference Report emphasized that ``the 
conferees do not intend that the Commission require the adoption of 
the recommended rating system nor that any particular program be 
rated.'' H. Rep. No. 458, 104th Cong., 2d Sess. 195 (1996)(emphasis 
added).
    Program producers and distributors were thus explicitly left by 
Congress with the discretion to determine whether they will rate 
their own programming, subject only to the requirement that they 
cannot strip ratings information from the VBI. Congress undoubtedly 
adopted this approach to avoid the obvious constitutional questions 
that would arise if programmers were required to display government-
approved messages about program content. Thus, whether certain 
program producers or distributors decide that they will not rate 
programs at all (as some did after the TV Parental Guidelines were 
adopted last December), or others do not utilize the additional 
content symbols, has no impact on the decision as to whether the 
ratings system adopted by the industry is ``acceptable'' under 
section 551(e)(1).
    In order to bring the full benefits of the TV Parental 
Guidelines to the American people, we urge the Commission promptly 
to conclude that this system is acceptable and to adopt the 
technical standards needed for its incorporation into television 
receivers.
    Please direct any questions concerning this matter to Jill 
Luckett at NCTA, Jack Goodman at NAB, and Cynthia Merrifield at 
MPAA.
          Respectfully submitted,

Jack Valenti,

[[Page 48285]]

President and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America.

Decker Anstrom,
President and CEO, National Cable Television Association.

Eddie Fritts,

President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters.

Attachments

cc: Chairman and Commissioners
    Meredith J. Jones
    Roy J. Stewart
    Christopher J. Wright
Agreement on Modifications to the TV Parental Guidelines

July 10, 1997.

    1. Content Information: The following content information, where 
appropriate, will be added to all non-exempt programming to supplement 
the existing TV Parental Guidelines: in the TV-Y7 category--FV for 
fantasy violence; in the TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA categories--V for 
violence, S for sexual situations, L for language, and D for dialogue.
    2. Descriptions of the Guidelines: Modifications will be made to 
the category descriptions as specified in Attachment 1.
    3. Monitoring Board: Five non-industry members, drawn from the 
advocacy community and selected by the Chairman, will be appointed to 
the Monitoring Board as full voting members. Recommendations for 
appointment to the Board will be offered by advocacy groups and 
Monitoring Board members.
    4. V-chip: The industry and advocacy groups will recommend to the 
FCC that the MPAA movie rating system and the universal television 
rating system be the only systems mandated for inclusion on the V-chip.
    5. Icons: Larger icons will appear on-screen for 15 seconds at the 
beginning of all rated programming and through use of a display button 
thereafter.
    6. Assurances: Attachment 2 reflects the agreement reached between 
the industry and advocacy groups on treatment of the relevant 
proceedings at the FCC and pending and future legislation.
    7. Research and Evaluation: Independent, scientific research and 
evaluation will be undertaken once the V-chip has been in the 
marketplace.
    8. Effective Date: Networks will begin to rate programming using 
the new universal television rating system by October 1, 1997. The 
industry agrees to encode and transmit the rating information in Line 
21 of the vertical blanking interval within 180 days of the date of 
this agreement.

July 10, 1997.

Attachment #1
    The following categories apply to programs designed solely for 
children:
    TV-Y All Children.This program is designed to be appropriate for 
all children. Whether animated or live-action, the themes and elements 
in this program are specifically designed for a very young audience, 
including children from ages 2-6. This program is not expected to 
frighten younger children.
    TV-Y7 Directed to Older Children. This program is designed for 
children age 7 and above. It may be more appropriate for children who 
have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between 
make-believe and reality. Themes and elements in this program may 
include mild fantasy violence or comedic violence, or may frighten 
children under the age of 7. Therefore, parents may wish to consider 
the suitability of this program for their very young children. Note: 
For those programs where fantasy violence may be more intense or more 
combative than other programs in this category, such programs will be 
designated TV-Y7-FV.
    The following categories apply to programs designed for the entire 
audience:
    TV-G  General Audience. Most parents would find this program 
suitable for all ages. Although this rating does not signify a program 
designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger 
children watch this program unattended. It contains little or no 
violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialogue or 
situations.
    TV-PG  Parental Guidance Suggested. This program contains material 
that parents may find unsuitable for younger children. Many parents may 
want to watch it with their younger children. The theme itself may call 
for parental guidance and/or the program contains one or more of the 
following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), 
infrequent coarse language (L), or some suggestive dialogue (D).
    TV-14  Parents Strongly Cautioned. This program contains some 
material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 
years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in 
monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children 
under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program contains one or more 
of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), 
strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).
    TV-MA  Mature Audience Only. This program is specifically designed 
to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children 
under 17. This program contains one or more of the following: graphic 
violence (V), explicit sexual activity (S), or crude indecent language 
(L).
Attachment #2

July 10, 1997.

    The attached modifications of the TV Parental Guideline System have 
been developed collaboratively by members of the industry and the 
advocacy community. We find this combined age and content based system 
to be acceptable and believe that it should be designated as the 
mandated system on the V-chip and used to rate all television 
programming, except for news and sports, which are exempt, and unedited 
movies with an MPAA rating aired on premium cable channels. We urge the 
FCC to so rule as expeditiously as possible.
    We further believe that the system deserves a fair chance to work 
in the marketplace to allow parents an opportunity to understand and 
use the system. Accordingly, the undersigned organizations will work 
to: educate the public and parents about the V-chip and the TV Parental 
Guideline System; encourage publishers of TV periodicals, newspapers 
and journals to include the ratings with their program listings; and 
evaluate the system. Therefore, we urge governmental leaders to allow 
this process to proceed unimpeded by pending or new legislation that 
would undermine the intent of this agreement or disrupt the harmony and 
good faith of this process.

Motion Picture Association of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Cable Television Association
Center for Media Education
Children's Defense Fund
Children Now
National Association of Elementary School Principals
National Education Association
National PTA
American Medical Association
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Psychological Association
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 10, 1997
Contacts: Barbara Dixon/Rich Taylor, MPAA, 202-293-1966
Dennis Wharton/John Earnhardt, NAB, 202-429-5350
Torie Clarke/Scott Broyles, NCTA, 202-775-3629

[[Page 48286]]

Joint Statement of Motion Picture Association of America
National Association of Broadcasters
National Cable Television Association Washington, D.C.
    The television industry has concluded a long negotiation with 
public advocacy groups and has come to closure on revisions to the TV 
PARENTAL GUIDELINES. The following content information, where 
appropriate, will be added to all non-exempt programming to supplement 
the existing Guidelines: in the TV-Y7 category--FV for fantasy 
violence; in the TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA categories--V for violence, S 
for sexual situations, L for language, and D for dialogue.
    Leaders in Congress have said no legislation regarding television 
ratings, content and program scheduling should be enacted for several 
years, so that parents will have time to understand and deal with V-
chips in television sets, a mechanism which gives them the ability to 
block out programs they may find inappropriate for young children. 
Additionally, advocacy group leaders have said this process should 
proceed unimpeded by pending or new legislation that would undermine 
the intent of our joint agreement or disrupt the harmony and good faith 
of the process just concluded.
    We are grateful to Vice President Gore, to Chairman John McCain, to 
Chairman Tom Bliley, Chairman Billy Tauzin, Congressman Ed Markey, 
among others, who were helpful throughout this process. We also wish to 
thank the parents of Peoria, Illinois who, in a May town hall meeting, 
shared with us their thoughts on the subject of television ratings.
    As the industry declared on February 29, 1996, in announcing its 
plans to design parental guidelines for television, we repeat now: 
Parents will be the arbiters of these new TV PARENTAL GUIDELINES, which 
will be implemented no later than October 1, 1997. Obviously, until 
there is a sufficient number of television sets equipped with V-chips 
in American homes, no evaluation can be properly conducted.

[FR Doc. 97-24354 Filed 9-12-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P