While the Parents Television Council’s view is no surprise, the activist group made it forcefully this week in a letter to MPAA chief Chris Dodd calling for meaningful changes in the movie ratings system and its treatment of on-screen violence. The “Check The Box” initiative that Dodd unveiled at last month’s CinemaCon confab changes movie ratings labeling to help people see the specific rationale — for example whether a PG-13 or R-rated film received the designation due to its use of profanity, nudity, smoking, drug use, or violence. PTC says that just gives studios “the appearance of doing something about media violence without actually doing anything at all.” The MPAA can “keep rating violent movies PG-13” which means studios can “market those violent films to kids … PG-13 films run the gamut from Les Miserables to Drag Me To Hell. And because it applies to everything, in practice, it means nothing.”PTC wants Dodd to make the ratings system clearer and more consistent, and give ordinary people — not just studios — opportunities to appeal cases where they believe a movie rating is inappropriate. MPAA’s Kate Bedingfield says that parents are well-represented on the ratings board — members must have kids between age 5 and 15. The “Check the Box” campaign, she adds, will “make sure that parents are aware” of the rationale for movie ratings. “Like any good system that endures, ours is built to adapt and evolve.”
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