The Washington Post reported Tuesday that government and industry sources say the Federal Communications Commission is close to recommending Congress pass legislation that would give regulators new powers to limit violence in entertainment programming.
The FCC is expected to release a report to lawmakers in which it concludes that regulating TV violence, particularly between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., is in the public interest.
The report maintains the U.S. Congress has the authority to regulate "excessive violence" similar to sexually suggestive material. For the first time, the FCC suggests Congress regulate basic cable TV channels besides public airwaves.
Such regulatory attempts run counter to First Amendment experts and TV executives who contend attempts to regulate TV violence will face tough constitutional standards, particularly for cable programming, which are purchased services.
"Parents are always the first and last line of defense in protecting their children, but legislation could give parents more tools," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the Post. "I think it would be better if the industry addressed this on its own, but we can also give parents" help through regulation.