Codes of conduct to get Senate airing

May 28, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The entertainment industry could be broadsided in June or July with a Senate hearing aimed at convincing television networks, movie studios, video game manufacturers, music labels and arcades to develop codes of conduct.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., an outspoken critic of sex and violence on TV, told Electronic Media last week that the Senate antitrust subcommittee will hold a hearing on legislation he introduced earlier this year that provides the entertainment industry with a limited antitrust exemption to develop such codes.
“I’m not asking for [Congress] to regulate it. I don’t think that would be an appropriate thing,” he said during an interview on Capitol Hill, emphasizing that any codes should be voluntary.
The bill does not recommend what the codes should look like. However, the senator has encouraged broadcasters in the past to adopt guidelines that reduce the level of gratuitous sex and violence on TV and embrace a family hour during prime time.
A previous version of his measure, an amendment to juvenile justice legislation, passed the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0 but later stalled in the chamber.
Broadcasters have long insisted that a code is not necessary and the government should not meddle in their affairs.
At deadline it was uncertain whether the impending power shift in the Senate to the Democrats might impact the planned hearing.
There’s reason to believe it will be held, because Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who will become the new antitrust subcommittee chairman, and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, who will relinquish that role, are both co-sponsors of the measure and have a cooperative working relationship.