US Kids' TV Rules Face Double Challenge

07 October 2005

US media watchdog, the Federal Communications Commission is facing legal attacks on two fronts over its new regulations governing children's TV.

Media companies are up in arms against extended FCC rules, effective January 1, that limit mentions of linked web sites during children's programs.

A second bone of contention is the ruling that promotional announcements must count as part of the twelve-minute per hour maximum for ads aimed at kids under 13 (10.5 minutes at weekends).

Media giant Viacom, owner of kids' channel Nickelodeon, has asked the US Court of Appeals to review the rules, claiming the FCC has exceeded its authority. It also suggests the regulations are unconstitutional and would result in "staggering" financial harm.

On the other flank, consumer and religious groups support the FCC's stance but want even tougher regulations.

The United Church of Christ has asked the appeal court in Cincinnati to review the rules and demands the commission ban future digital technology that would allow young TV viewers to link and click through to web sites during shows.

Says Angela Campbell, a lawyer for the Children's Media Policy Coalition: "I am shocked and disappointed that a company such as Viacom is seeking to overturn FCC rules that are designed to protect children from unfair commercial programming."

Retorts Viacom spokesman Carl Folta: "Our filing is simply seeking a review of the most recent children's television rules that the FCC adopted last year. We still hope the FCC will reconsider these rules."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff