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Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Hollywood denies 'selling violence'
Students outside Columbine High School in Colorado
The Columbine High School shooting sparked the debate
The United States entertainment industry has denied accusations that it sells violence to children through music, films and video games.

Industry executives said they were "attentive to the parents of this country" and whenever their product carried explicit material, it was clearly labelled.

When material is explicit, we clearly label it for parents and guardians to make informed buying decisions for their kids

Recording Industry Association of America's Hilary Rosen
A US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, released on Monday, said that a vast majority of films, music recordings and video games designated as unsuitable for minors under voluntary ratings were being marketed to children under 17.

The report was endorsed by President Bill Clinton, who commissioned the FTC study, and both presidential candidates have spoken out on the issue.

Federal crackdown

Democratic candidate Al Gore asked the entertainment industry to stop marketing violent material to children. He threatened a federal crackdown if no action is taken by the entertainment industry.

"Nobody is for censorship," he said. "We have a First Amendment and we are going to respect and protect the First Amendment. But parents have a right to play a meaningful role in sheltering their children from adult and mature material."

Al Gore
Al Gore has threatened of a federal crackdown
Mr Gore's Republican rival, George W Bush, also promised to work with Hollywood bosses to limit the content that "pollutes our children's minds".

Accusations denied

In its defence, the entertainment industry officials said all its products were clearly labelled.

"As an industry we do not market violence. We market artists," said Hilary Rosen, president and chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America.

"When material is explicit, we clearly label it for parents and guardians to make informed buying decisions for their kids," Ms Rosen said.

Report findings
80% of films rated for over 17 were targeted at children under 17
27% of music rated with "explicit content" was targeted at teenagers
70% of electronic games with a "Mature" rating are marketed to children under 17
Retailers make little effort to enforce rating restrictions
Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America said, "There is no enterprise in American that is more attentive to the parents of this country than the movie industry."

Federal report

The FTC report was ordered by President Clinton following the shooting dead last year of 13 teenagers by two of their fellow students at the Columbine High School in Colorado in April last year.

The report said pervasive and aggressive marketing of violent movies, music and electronic games to children undermined the credibility of the industries' ratings and labels.

It also said that such marketing frustrated parents' attempts to make informed decisions about their children's exposure to violent content.

However, the FTC did not blame the violence in America on the violence contained in products sold by the entertainment industry.

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See also:

16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Dreyfuss dismisses Hollywood attack
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Lieberman attacks Hollywood
22 Apr 00 | Tom Brook
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Clinton alarm over US violence
16 May 99 | Americas
Clinton blasts Hollywood violence
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