February 12, 1998

Wirthlin Poll finds most Americans believe indecency law enforcement would be more effective than TV ratings, and want the indecency law extended to midnight


New York, 2/12/98 — Most adult Americans polled last weekend (Feb. 6-8) said stricter enforcement of the broadcast indecency law by the Federal Communications Commission would be more effective than ratings and a V-Chip to deal with offensive television programming.  A majority also said that the broadcast indecency law, currently in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., should be extended to midnight.  The telephone poll was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide for Morality in Media.

Key findings:

1 – 59% of adult Americans think the FCC needs to work harder to enforce the indecency laws; only 28% think a rating system and V-Chip would be an effective alternative.
2 – 59% favor extending the indecency ban by two hours, so that it would be in effect from 6 a.m. to midnight instead of to 10 p.m.; 33% oppose the extension.

Morality in Media President Robert W. Peters commented:

“The poll shows most Americans do not view the TV industry’s rating system as an effective alternative toFCC enforcement of the broadcast indecency law.  Even the best possible TV rating system will only benefit children whose parents use it wisely, and not even the TV industry has claimed that its system is the best.

“The poll findings dovetail with the primary focus of this year’s Turn Off TV Day, which occurs each year on Valentine’s Day.  In addition to asking Americans to turn off their TVs and spend quality time with the people they love, we are also asking them to write to broadcast TV executives to let them know that what most Americans want is programming that respects their values, not vague ratings on reprehensible programming.

“Congress must hold the FCC to its responsibility for enforcing the broadcast indecency law and should also extend the enforcement hours to midnight.”

Author: Morality in Media   02/12/1998

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