Sunday, April 10, 2022

TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board - Unaccountable to the Public

The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board and the Parents Television and Media Council have contrasting goals.  The Monitoring Board works for the entertainment industry and allegedly responds to complaints regarding erroneous or inadequate ratings that networks assigned to their TV programs.  The Council allegedly is a watch dog over the Board and points out to the Board TV shows and movies that appear to not have been rated properly based on the content of the TV program.   

What they have in common is this.  They are both private organizations not accountable to the public.  The same public who watches TV shows and TV movies.  Neither organization will speak to you over the phone.  Neither organization will respond to you in writing in request for information you requested.

The Monitoring Board is not under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Nor is the Board accountable to the Federal, State or local governments.  Even though the product they control/”monitor” impacts taxpayers, they are immune from public scrutiny.  Something is wrong with that scenario.  Every week, hundreds of TV shows, TV movies and other programs are cascaded and thrust out at us, the public for absorption under the definition of “entertainment”.

Over the past few years, I became aware that the current rating system was making decisions for parents on what content of TV programs was appropriate.  That content involved scenes of homosexual/same sex relationship being depicted in TV shows.  Time and time again, TV shows and movies did not have a parental warning that the program featured scenes of homosexual activity.  This resulted in viewers being surprised when a scene of homosexual behavior suddenly appeared on the screen.

I proposed to the Board that a descriptor of SSR (same sex relationship) be added to forewarn parents, grandparents and other guardians about content that includes homosexual scenes.  The Board countered that the current system and descriptors were adequate.  No current rating or descriptor covers homosexual activity.  So, families continue to be surprised by the content of TV shows and movies under the current rating system.  How many times have you been surprised?

I brought this matter to the attention of the Council.  The Council appears to have no interest in the issue of homosexual scenes in TV shows and TV movies.  Their focus seems to be on content related to teen agers and youth.  The Council does not want to acknowledge that teens and youth are influenced and impacted by these homosexual content scenes.

The members of the Board, in addition to the chairman, includes 18 industry representatives from the broadcast, cable and creative communities appointed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA – The Internet and Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and five public interest members, appointed by the Board chairman. Disney, Fox network, Discovery and Hulu are among the entertainment organizations serving on the Board.  My request for the names and contact info for each Board member was refused.  My phone calls to the Board chairman, Charles Rivkin, were not returned.  My request for names and contact info for the five interest group members was also not responded to.

I wonder, “Why are they afraid to have a dialogue?”  “Why can’t the names and contact info of the Board members be released?”  Why?  Because they do not want to be accountable to you, the public, the same public who are impacted by their decisions on complaints received from the public.  It appears as if the Board is established to maintain the authority of the entertainment industry on what content reaches you in your home.  The content that influences the behavior of your children.

I am asking you as a parent, grandparent, teacher, or guardian to complain to your Congressperson and Senator regarding the lack of accountability of the Board.  Write and telephone the Board and let them know you want more input on what you want to be warned about in regards to the content of TV shows and TV movies.  They can be reached at the following:

TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board
PO BOX 771
Washington, DC 20044
(202) 570-7776


Mr. Arnell Hill

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