Clinton seeks to curb TV violence

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IN A series of appeals over the weekend, President Bill Clinton called on America's entertainment industry to review its depiction of violence and killing in response to the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado last month.

Mr Clinton proposed that film trailers should not show murders and gun violence, called for strict enforcement of age restrictions at cinemas and video shops, and ventured that films classified PG (parental guidance) contained too much violence.

At a Los Angeles dinner that raised $2m (pounds 1.26m) for Democratic Party campaign coffers, Mr Clinton told Hollywood's glitterati that it was time to consider whether violent films, television and video- games "do not desensitise children who already feel alienated form their peers and their families". The two gunmen at Columbine High were found to have played violent video games, as well as acting out killing scenes for a school video project.

"That doesn't make anybody who makes any movie or any video game or any television programme a bad person or personally responsible for one show with a disastrous outcome," Mr Clinton added quickly, alluding to a recent court judgment awarding $25m in compensation to the family of a man murdered after his appearance on a raunchy talk show. "But we just need to look around and we know all these things go together."

In his weekly radio address, Mr Clinton said: "There is still too much violence on our nation's screens, large and small."

The Senate Majority leader Trent Lott accused the President of double standards. "This weekend," Mr Lott said, "the Clinton-Gore regime will be begging for cash from one of the polluters responsible for our nation's moral decline," he said of the fund-raising. "What's the message to our children? Democrats care about your safety - unless it's inconvenient to their partners in Hollywood."