Kid-friendly TV hours should be set by law
This refers to the news item titled “DepEd releases rules for law shielding kids from TV violence” (Inquirer, 7/17/12), on the launching last July 17 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Children’s Television Act of 1997 (Republic Act 8370).
Television viewers now expect to see more child-friendly programs. It is hoped, as Education Secretary Armin Luistro has pointed out, “during the times when children are known to be watching, programming is regulated in terms of language, themes ….”
Section 24 of the IRR provides that all local TV networks shall allot daily 15 percent of their airtime for child-friendly television shows as part of their responsibility to serve the public. This is also a prerequisite for the issuance of the Broadcast Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), Provisional Authority (PA), franchise/license, or for the renewal of any thereof with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
It would be better, though, to allocate a particular time (for example, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) as the children’s TV hours—instead of generally requiring 15-percent airtime for good shows—to ensure that the children’s TV hours do not get assigned to dead airtime but to prime viewing time for children.
Sections 25 to 27 of the IRR provide for the creation of the National Endowment Fund for Children’s Television. But the P30 million offered as incentive for independent producers to make quality shows is too small. The main bulk of the producers’ cost is not of production but of airtime, which can be staggering.
Another point is that just because a TV program is good does not necessarily mean its producers can maintain its showing, because they need advertisers to support it. Advertisers support shows that rate highly. In the ratings game, wholesome and educational shows do not do as well as shows that cater to man’s baser instincts like sex and violence; or shows that give away money and have the format of typical noontime shows.
It is, therefore, suggested that the incentive should be applied to the advertising sponsors who are required to allocate 15 percent of their advertising budget to support good shows, also as part of their responsibility of serving the public. Without this, producers will not be able to maintain high-quality shows.
Network operators and advertising sponsors are duty-bound to work hand in hand for the good of the consuming public/viewers, especially the youth, the future leaders of the country.
Finally, Section 8 of the IRR enumerates the functions of the National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) to “monitor, review and classify children’s television programs….” How will the NCCT perform its functions vis-à-vis the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)? There may be some overlapping of functions and policies. Episodes for TV shows are submitted to MTRCB for review, not to the NCCT. So, how will NCCT monitor, fine and review? It seems unclear.
for the Television Advocacy Group (TAG)
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