Today’s news:

TV oversight group opens Queens chapter

Queens residents can now join the “army of concerned families and citizens” across the country fighting to clean up television for the nation’s children.

The Parents Television Council, a national research organization that alerts parents to inappropriate material on television and petitions major networks and advertisers that support controversial programming, has added a Queens/Long Island chapter to its growing national grassroots network.

“The time has come for concerned Queens/Long Island parents to speak out against the violence and vulgarty that is marketed to our children through the media,” said Marybeth Campfield, the new chapter’s director. “We are excited to combine efforts with other communities across the nation to actively address the degradation of television programming.”

The council, however, is not a censorship organization, said spokeswoman Naomi McCotter. The group asks shows to clean up their message or be placed in a later time slot, but does not request that they be taken off the air.     

“We research, we educate and we motivate,” McCotter said.

Members of the organization watch cable programs and rate them for violence, profanity and sexual content. They then make their ratings available to the public at www.parentstv.org and share their findings with networks and advertisers.

The council has been a solely national organization for most of its existence, but recently has incorporated local chapters in order to increase membership and enable itself to approach networks and advertisers from a different angle.

“The local chapters have two missions, to recruit more members and implement the national PTC process at the local level,” McCotter said. “We hope the local advertisers and affiliates will take these issues up the food chain so the national organizations begin to feel pressure from the bottom up.”

The council encourages concerned citizens, whether they are members or not, to write letters to networks and their advertisers to express displeasure when the programming they support is offensive and appreciation when it is “family friendly.”

These letters can be effective, McCotter said, because sometimes advertisers do not realize the shows they sponsor have inappropriate content.

“Some advertisers will send us a letter saying, ‘Thank you for letting us know,’” she said.

The council is currently working on its “Bring Back the Family Hour” campaign, which asks basic cable networks to air their most family friendly shows in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour, the time they say most families are watching television together. The organization is also in the middle of a campaign against the FX cop show “The Shield” for its graphic language, violence and sexual content.

While the council’s success is hard to measure, McCotter said networks have been concentrating on running more family friendly lineups since the council began its efforts seven years ago. The group has also seen advertisers it has targeted withdraw sponsorship of controversial programs.

The Queens/Long Island chapter will work to influence local sponsors and recruit members for the growing organization.

“The members of the Queens/Long Island Chpter will join forces with our more than 715,000 members nationwide in actively petitioning the networks and their sponsors for a voluntary end to this assault on our children,” said the council’s founder and President L. Brent Bozell III.

People interested in joining the Parents Television Council should e-mail queenslichapter@parentstv.org or call 757-481-3410.

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