Get The Government Out Of Broadcasting
I would like to commend NBC’s stand on keeping the government out of regulating the broadcast industry.
After pressure from the government as well as various organizations, the major networks uniformly adopted at television rating system, like the current system the movie industry uses to regulate content and inform viewers of movies. Since the enactment of this new system, however, groups have been complaining that the rating system in place does not tell viewers enough about why the shows received that rating. Is it because there is bad language? Is there sexual content? Id there violence? A “TV14” Rating doesn’t not discern one type of adult theme from another, and groups have been pushing for an adoption of a plan similar to the current system used by the Home Box Office cable channel - one with a list that quickly shows more of a program’s content, using such abbreviations as “SC for sexual content or “AL” for adult language.
Then the government agreed that this would be a good idea. So they asked the networks to come together and come up with a plan.
The network NBC was the only major network that chose not to adopt the plan. They stated swiftly that it is not because they don’t want to tell people what the content of a given show is, but that they don’t want the government telling them to adopt a system. They also stated in press releases that they will be working on their own plan for a system that will help people better understand what exactly is on the shows they are about to watch.
I applaud the fact the NBC was willing to distance themselves from appeasing the first group loud enough to be heard, when it may not be in NBC’s best interest to do so. More importantly, I applaud the fact the NBC was willing to distance themselves from government regulation, and that they were willing to state that that is exactly what they were doing.
When individual citizens find something they don’t like about the goods and services they receive, they should not make it the government’s job to try to remedy the situation. The government is there to protect individual citizens from the force of others - not from television programming that one group of people or another might not like.
I truly appreciate the fact that NBC concisely points out that it’s not that they don’t want to inform people about programming, if that’s what they want, but that don’t want that authority to be placed in the hands of an already-too-powerful government. NBC’s press release on the issue stated, “NBC has consistently stated that, as a matter of principle, there is no place for government involvement in what people watch on television. Viewers, not politicians or special interest groups, should regulate the remote control”.
If people want to do something about broadcasting, they can request information on an individual basis or bring other individuals together into a group who have the same feelings in order to make information about programming easier to get. It is possible, as a citizen or a group of citizens, to make a difference - it isn’t necessary to expect the government to do it for you.
Give a government some power, and they will eventually take more - see any dictatorship or any form of communism and socialism as an example (even see the history of our own government - we have been slowly losing more and more of our rights here in America). Thank you, NBC, for understanding that the rights of individuals also include the rights of business people - and those rights should not be given away so quickly.
This story was originally printed in USA Today.
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