From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Television Violence Is Spotlighted

Date 04 May 1996 15:23:10


96067           Television Violence Is Spotlighted 
                        During MRTI Meeting 
                         by Julian Shipp 
LOS ANGELES--Meeting Feb. 2-3 near Hollywood, the heart of the 
entertainment industry, the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through 
Investment (MRTI) reported on its discussion of network television violence 
with officials of General Electric and its subsidiary, NBC. 
     According to the Rev. William Somplatsky-Jarman, MRTI staff member in 
the National Ministries Division, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the 
primary filer of a shareholder resolution requesting GE/NBC to review its 
broadcast standards in light of research on the effects of portrayals of 
violence, especially on children, and to report its findings to 
stockholders. During the meeting with television executives, 
Somplatsky-Jarman was accompanied by Dr. Gary Miller, MRTI chair.  
     "NBC explained its opposition to developing a rating system for 
television programs and the introduction of the V-chip, a device which 
would permit parents to screen out offensive programs more easily," 
Somplatsky-Jarman said. "NBC also detailed steps it is taking to reduce 
violence, develop more positive programs for families and showcased the 
antiviolence spots it runs." 
     While in Los Angeles, MRTI Committee members met with Dr. Jeff Cole, 
director of the UCLA Center on Communications Policy. Cole directed a 
two-year study on television violence on the major networks and released a 
report with recommendations last summer. Funded by the networks, the study 
found serious problems in their portrayal of violence. 
                   Proxy voting recommendations 
     Proxy voting recommendations dominated much of  MRTI's work. However, 
committee members found time for two dialogues with area corporations and 
educational visits concerning MRTI priority issues. 
     Somplatsky-Jarman said religious stockholders have submitted 
resolutions to about 150 companies on issues ranging from equal employment 
opportunity to environmental standards to television violence. Many of the 
resolutions will be withdrawn following dialogue with a company where a 
mutually satisfactory agreement is worked out. Other resolutions may not 
appear on the final proxy statement if a company successfully challenges 
them before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
     MRTI annually reviews the resolutions and recommends whether they 
should be supported, opposed or whether an abstention should be recorded. 
MRTI's recommendations go to the General Assembly Council before being sent 
on to the Board of  Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation. Other 
Presbyterian institutions receive MRTI's recommendations for their use, 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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