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CHAIRMAN WILLIAM E. KENNARD ESTABLISHES TASK FORCE TO MONITOR AND ASSIST IN THE ROLL-OUT OF THE V-CHIP, TO BE CHAIRED BY COMMISSIONER GLORIA TRISTANI

William E. Kennard, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), announced today that he has established a V-Chip Task Force, to be chaired by Commissioner Gloria Tristani. He made this announcement following the White House Strategy Session on Children, Violence and Responsibility which he and Commissioner Tristani attended. The Task Force will work with equipment manufacturers and retailers, cable and broadcast programming producers, parents and other groups to ensure the effective roll-out of the V-Chip.

The V-Chip allows parents to block television programming that they believe may be harmful to their children. Last year the Commission adopted rules for V-Chip technology and approved an industry standard for rating video programming that contains sexual, violent or other material about which parents should be informed. The rules adopted by the Commission require that, as of July 1, 1999, half of all new television sets with screens of 13" or greater be equipped with a V-Chip and that all new television sets be equipped with this technology as of January 1, 2000.

Chairman Kennard said, "By this time next year, all new television sets will include V-Chip technology. This technology, industry-rated programming and ratings information are the tools which empower parents to direct their children's television viewing. I am delighted that Commissioner Gloria Tristani has agreed to head the task force, which will help make sure that parents have information on how to use the V-Chip to protect their kids."

Commissioner Tristani said, "The V-Chip is a modern tool to help parents raise their children in a modern world. I look forward to working with a variety of industry and consumer groups to make this technology available and accessible to parents in the coming months." A fact sheet on the FCC V-Chip Task Force is attached.

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Federal Communications Commission V-Chip Task Force


The V-Chip is a powerful tool that allows parents to block television programming that they believe may be harmful to their children. In 1998, the Commission adopted rules requiring half of all new television sets with screens thirteen-inches or greater to be equipped with a V-Chip as of July 1, 1999 and that all such sets be equipped with a V-Chip as of January 1, 2000. The Commission also found acceptable a voluntary industry system standard for rating video programming that contains violent, sexual or other material about which parents should be informed.

To ensure that the V-Chip is available to help parents direct their children's television viewing, Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard has established a V-Chip Task Force, to be chaired by Commissioner Gloria Tristani. The Task Force will work with equipment manufacturers, cable and broadcast programming producers, parents and other groups to ensure the effective implementation of the V-Chip.

The Task Force will:

Ensure that the V-Chip Works. The Task Force will take steps to see that the blocking technology is available and working in a timely manner. In particular, the Task Force will ensure that (1) manufacturers meet the July 1, 1999 and January 1, 2000 deadlines for the V-Chip to be installed in new TV sets; and (2) video programming distributors are actually encoding ratings information in conformance with the voluntary industry ratings system.

Educate Parents About the V-Chip. The Task Force will disseminate information to parents about the industry rating system and how the V-Chip can be used to block programming that they find objectionable. In addition, the Task Force will promote the availability of ratings information through magazines, newspapers and television.

Encourage Labeling V-Chip Equipped Sets. The Task Force will encourage adoption of a standard label to identify those television sets or set-top boxes containing the V-Chip.

Encourage Distribution of Point of Sale Information. The Task Force will encourage retailers and manufacturers to provide information and instruction on the operation of the V-Chip where sets are sold.

Information Gathering. The Task Force will gather information on the availability, usage and effectiveness of the V-Chip.

Coalitions and Partners. The Task Force will work with a range of industry organizations and other associations including National Association of Broadcasters, National Cable Television Association, Motion Picture Association of America, Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association, KIDSNET, Center for Media Education, Kaiser Family Foundation, Children Now, National Education Association and the American Psychological Association.

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Source:www.fcc.gov/vchip/