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Entertainment Media

Since artistic expression inevitably reflects the culture in which it is embedded, it is hardly surprising that alcohol use and alcohol products are frequently displayed or mentioned in prime-time television, movies, and music. Although the viewing or listening audiences for most of these media products are predominantly adult, some of them are disproportionately underage, and even the predominantly adult audiences inevitably include large numbers of young people. As in the case of commercial alcohol advertising, the entertainment media have a social responsibility to eschew displays or lyrics that portray underage drinking in a favorable light or that glamorize or promote alcohol consumption in products that are targeted toward or likely to be heard or viewed by large underage audiences. Labeling and notice requirements have been voluntarily adopted in analogous contexts. Although the industry restrictions should be undertaken on a voluntary basis, some independent oversight and public awareness of these standards is warranted.

Recommendation 8-1: The entertainment industries should use rating systems and marketing codes to reduce the likelihood that underage audiences will be exposed to movies, recordings, or television programs with unsuitable alcohol content, even if adults are expected to predominate in the viewing or listening audiences

Recommendation 8-2: The film rating board of the Motion Picture Association of America should consider alcohol content in rating films, avoiding G or PG ratings for films with unsuitable alcohol content, and assigning mature ratings for films that portray underage drinking in a favorable light.

Recommendation 8-3: The music recording industry should not market recordings that promote or glamorize alcohol use to young people; should include alcohol content in a comprehensive rating system, similar to those used by the television, film, and video game industries; and should establish an independent body to assign ratings and oversee the industry code.

Recommendation 8-4: Television broadcasters and producers should take appropriate precautions to ensure that programs do not portray underage drinking in a favorable light, and that unsuitable alcohol content is included in the category of mature content for purposes of parental warnings.

Recommendation 8-5: Congress should appropriate the necessary funds to enable the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a periodic review of a representative sample of movies, televi-

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