Many television listings still don't include warnings on which shows include violence despite industry promises to publish that information, the chairman of the House telecommunications subcommittee says.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said Wednesday he is asking TV executives to look into the matter."By omitting the label from weekly TV schedules, the serious business of giving parents information in advance looks more like a game of advisory hide and go seek," he said.
Markey wants to impose tough penalties on cable and broadcast networks if they don't take steps to stem violence on television.
In January, a report by Markey's subcommittee said fewer than half of 450 violent programs carried a violence warning in listings for the Baltimore-Washington area.
Seven months later, the situation has not improved, Markey said in letters sent to major broadcast and cable network chiefs Wednesday. He wants to know what they are doing to ensure that parents have access to violence warnings.
Showtime Networks Inc. was among the 17 media companies Markey contacted. The company has been running violence ratings and advisories for years. But listings companies don't always print the information as submitted, Showtime spokeswoman Lisa Hammer said.
"We have an extensive system and have told them not to cut down the information or to generalize. Generalizing doesn't work for us and doesn't do parents any good," she said.
Listings companies said most newspapers don't have enough space to print advisories with each program deemed violent. It is the newspapers, not the listing companies, that may omit or shorten the warnings, representatives said.