Parents Org Calls for Overhaul of Movie and TV Ratings

Variety

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The Parents Television Council is calling for an overhaul of movie and TV ratings, which the org says are inaccurate and inconsistent.

Last month, the PTC blasted the TV content ratings system, and its most recent criticism on Wednesday was extended to include the 46-year-old motion picture voluntary ratings.

“In order for the system to work properly, content ratings much be accurate, consistent, transparent and publicly accountable,” said Tim Winter, president of PTC. “The current system is none of that.”

The PTC tied their call for an overhaul of the ratings system to the one-year anniversary of Vice President Joseph Biden’s meetings with reps of the movie and TV business to talk about violence in the media, following the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. Winter contends that the industry “has done nothing” to reduce media violence since then, and he cited a well-publicized study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University that found that PG-13 rated movies contain as much violence as R-rated movies. The study appeared in Pediatrics, the publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Parents instinctively protect their children from harmful content because they know that children are impacted by what they see,” Winter said. “But they cannot protect their children by relying on an inaccurate ratings system.”

The MPAA had no comment.

Industry reps have long pointed to research finding an inconclusive connection to media violence and real life violence, even though PTC and other parents orgs have called for additional research and have pointed to findings that there is a correlation between on-screen and actual aggression. The Annenberg study, meanwhile, looked at only the top 30 movies each year, not every movie rated or released.

Last month, the PTC’s criticisms of the TV content ratings was met with pushback from TV Watch, an org made of of several industry members that opposes government control of TV content. Its executive director, Jim Dyke, said that PTC had an “online complaint machine” and had a “history of exaggerated numbers, flawed methodology and misleading or outright false claims” that “suggests they are more interested in their own agenda rather than parents.”

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