Many thanks to Mark Allen for the transcript

Sydney Morning Herald

13 September 2000

Gay Alcorn Herald Correspondent

In Washington and agencies

A damning United States report, which found that the entertainment industry is marketing violent adult movies, music and video games to children, has strengthened the push for new curbs on the industry. The study, commissioned by the White House, found that film Companies routinely marketed to children products rated as inappropriate for them or which they should only see with parental approval. The study said that this was despite growing evidence of a high correlation between exposure to media violence and aggressive or violent behaviour. The findings were immediately followed by official moves, to consider new laws curbing the marketing of violent material.

The report will also add to the debate in other countries, including Australia, about the need for tougher laws on media violence. The study by the US Federal Trade Commission found that of 44 movies rated R for violence, 35, or 8o per cent, were targeted at children. One company plan quoted by the study said: "Our goal was to find the elusive teen target audience and make sure everyone between the ages of I2-18 was exposed to the film."

Television programs such as Xena: Warrior Princess, South Park and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were promoted most actively in media outlets most likely to reach children under I7. President Clinton commissioned the study after last year's Columbine High School shootings. The report immediately became election campaign fodder, with Mr Clinton, his wife and Senate candidate Mrs Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic presidential nominee, Mr Al Gore, saying the findings were outrageous. Mr Gore said that unless the industry ceased the practice within six months he would have individual companies charged with false or misleading advertising under Federal law. The president of the US recording industry association, Ms Hilary Rosen, reacted angrily to the report, saying "parents, not government, have the responsibility for guiding children toward music that is appropriate for a child's age and maturity". The Republican candidate, Mr George W Bush, accused Mr Gore of hypocrisy, given the Democrats' reliance on Hollywood and entertainment funds.

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