Simon Gives Television Industry Two Months to Reduce Violence

Article excerpt

Sen. Paul Simon gave the television industry two months Monday to clean up television violence or face the threat of regulation.

"If there is not in the next 60 days some indication you are moving, and moving in the right direction, then my colleagues are going to be pushing and pushing hard" for regulations, Simon told industry members who gathered to discuss the matter.

Although television executives balked at accusations that violent programming contributes to a violent society, some showed a willingness to change.

In an interview, CBS programming chief Jeff Sagansky said: "The fact of the matter is our society has gotten more violent. No matter what you believe about the studies, we've got to be part of the solution and in no way part of the problem. As far as CBS is concerned, this is going to have an impact on how we do business."

The unprecedented meeting was organized by the nonprofit National Council for Families and Television. About 650 writers, producers and television executives were joined by academics and members of groups critical of the industry.

The session followed congressional hearings in Washington that put increased pressure on the television industry to reduce violence.

Simon, a Democrat from Illinois, is the author of the 1990 Television Violence Act that gave the industry a mandate to reform its violent programming. …