FCC Bolsters Children's TV Requirements

U.S. television broadcasters that decide to offer more programming on over-the-air digital channels will also have to add shows geared toward children, U.S. regulators ruled Sept. 9.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) -- U.S. television broadcasters that decide to offer more programming on over-the-air digital channels will also have to add shows geared toward children, U.S. regulators ruled Sept. 9.

Broadcasters already have to offer three hours of educational and informational programming for children each week and are gearing up to add over-the-air channels with digital airwaves they received from the government.

The Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to extend those requirements to any additional programming they send out using the digital airwaves, on a prorated basis, starting in a year.

The FCC also bolstered rules for existing children's programming, including ordering a symbol identifying a program as educational or informational to be featured while it is on air, regardless of whether it is on digital or current analog services.

Broadcasters will also be banned from including an Internet address crawl at the bottom of the screen during shows geared for children 12 years old and under unless it offers a substantial amount of related information or other non-commercial content, the FCC said.

"Without appropriate safeguards, we run the risk that our children become captive to increasingly invasive advertising," said FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat.

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