The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report recommending that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) improve its enforcement of the Children’s Television Act (CTA) of 1990, which restricts advertising during children’s programs, requires a certain amount of informational/educational programming as a condition of broadcast license renewals and prohibits the use of program characters in advertising during any program for children younger than age 12. On the basis of its review of FCC data, interviews with FCC and broadcast station officials and focus groups with parents, GAO expressed concerns about the agency’s lack of specific standards to assess informational (or “core children’s”) programming. The report also found that most self-reported violations involved broadcasters exceeding advertising time limits.

According to the report, core children’s programming on commercial broadcast
stations “increased significantly” from 1998 to 2010, along with cable and
satellite providers—“to which core children’s programming requirements
do not apply—increasing the number of channels specifically targeted to children.” Noting a lack of widely accepted standards to assess such programming, GAO recommends that FCC (i) “implement a strategy to oversee cable operators’ and satellite providers’ compliance,” (ii) “work with industry to develop voluntary guidelines for assessing core children’s programming,” and (iii) “implement and assess the effectiveness of additional mechanisms to inform parents about core children’s programming.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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