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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release March 12, 1998
         Statement by the Vice President of the United States
         On the Federal Communications Commission Rulings on
         Video Programming Ratings and Technical Requirements 

                             March 12, 1998

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new era in television and in so doing, put parents back in charge of what comes into their living room. By taking the next step in the bringing parents the V-Chip, we are harnessing new technologies in the service of our oldest values.

When the President and I first called for the V-Chip over two years ago, we knew that we had to give families more control over one of the most influential forces in our nation, television. Still today, a typical child watches 25,000 hours of television before his or her 18th birthday.

Now the FCC has taken the next step toward putting this new tool where it belongs, in a parents' hand.

What this means is parents could see V-Chip set-top boxes in the stores by as early as this summer and could see V-Chip equipped television sets by this Christmas.

I am hopeful that television set manufacturers will now compete in the marketplace for the most useful and effective implementation of this new tool for parents to control what their children watch. These manufacturers are free to go beyond the V-Chip's requirements to give parents even more tools like viewing time limitations built into their television.

But it's more than giving parents the ability to block what comes on their set. Parents must also know in advance what programs are appropriate for their children. That is why I am calling on every newspaper to print the ratings information in its TV guides.

Now to make this new system the most valuable to parents, parents need to know when a program may be too violent for their children. There are still some networks who have yet to include the additional content ratings of S, V, L and D. So I call on the hold-out networks to join in one common voluntary rating system so parents can have the V for their V-Chips.