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82% of those surveyed against gov't's regulation of TV

WASHINGTON — More Americans believe in alien abductions than in government regulation of television content, according to a survey released by an industry-backed org.

Responding to recent indecency penalties issued by the Federal Communications Commission, TV Watch, members of which include Fox, Viacom and NBC Universal, contracted Russell Research to survey 501 registered voters March 24-26.

Results, released Friday, show that 82% prefer exercising personal choice to view programs; only 12% supported government regulation of content. A 2002 Roper poll showed that approximately 20% of Americans believe in alien abductions.

“For too long, activists have gone unchallenged as they pressure the government to control broadcast television content, even though their idea of control has very little public support,” Jim Dyke, exec director of TV Watch said in a statement.

Groups such as Parents Television Council and American Family Assn. have lobbied feds heavily for tougher policing of airwaves. Some observers believe the FCC’s recent penalties were a direct result of that pressure.

Survey also found that 87% agree that existing methods and technology — such as show ratings and V-chips — are adequate for parents to control what their children see.

“When more people believe in alien abductions than think the government should control what adults watch on TV, it puts efforts to have government control television programming in perspective,” Dyke said.

PTC was unavailable for comment.