PTC Urges TV Networks to be Responsible about Torture Scenes

The Parents Television Council (PTC), a major non-profit promoter of family-friendly television, has done a review on the frequency of torture scenes and is now addressing the issue with networks to change their policy.

The group is especially focusing on Fox Broadcasting Network, which is the home to the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning series “24,” sporting the highest amount of torture scenes.

The PTC is asking that these companies either remove this negative content from their programs or that at least move it to air after 10 p.m. in the local markets, a time when children are less likely to be a part of the viewing audience.

“Fox and other broadcast networks need to show increased responsibility when it comes to airing extremely graphic and disturbing scenes of torture and other violence during early hours of prime time,” said Tim Winter, president of the PTC, in a statement. “Medical and social science have proven conclusively that children are adversely affected by exposure to violent content, yet the networks show no restraint about when they air this content.”

In a review of 1995 to 2001, the PTC found 110 scenes of torture during the prime time broadcast period, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. From then until 2005, the number has increased to 624 scenes of torture.

The PTC also found that “24” showed the most torture with 67 scenes during their first five seasons.

A past invention called the V-chip had tried to reduce children viewing of violence by blocking certain programs from youth. The PTC has found that it is not effective, so parents should monitor their kids’ television habits.

Yet, the PTC notes that parents cannot catch everything, so it is the networks’ responsibility to also modify their programs to protect younger audiences.

Noting that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) had moved back their hit show “Lost,” which also included a large amount of torture scenes, to the 10 p.m. slot, the protective children council encourages all shows to follow suit. They note that “24,” which has its program run at 9 p.m., has aired special 2-hour episodes starting from 8 p.m.

In a statement, PTC’s Winter concluded that “we need a solution to the pervasive and graphic violence that continues to be shown during prime time hours when children are in the viewing audience.”