Media Groups Challenge Kidvid Bill Constitutionality

Broadcast news directors and journalists’ groups last week asked the Federal Communications Commission to challenge the constitutionality of children’s programming legislation passed last year by Congress.

The kidvid bill limits the commercial minutes on children’s programming and allows the FCC to revoke broadcasters’ licenses if they fail to meet the educational needs of children. The FCC is implementing certain parts of the legislation and is considering limits on so-called “program-length commercials.”

The Radio-Television News Directors Assn. said the bill “violates the First Amendment by requiring television broadcasters to provide programming and supporting advertising material as the federal government demands.” RTNDA, joined by the Media Institute, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Society of Professional Journalists, asked the FCC to launch a court challenge to the bill.

The FCC, which has improved its relations considerably with Congress under the direction of chairman Alfred Sikes, is likely to ignore the RTNDA request.

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