The Children’s Television Act of 1990 (CTA) was intended to promote broadcast television programming in the public interest and increase young viewers’ access to educational and informational content on television. President George H. W. Bush allowed the act to become a law without his signature in October 1990, saying he supported its goals but had objections on free speech grounds. This entry discusses the background of the law, its implementation, and its effects on children’s TV programming.

Although Americans had voiced concerns about the programs children were watching on TV since at least the 1950s, little formal action had been taken to regulate the content or delivery of children’s television programming. Even the 1967 Public Broadcasting Act, while it spoke to a need for all-ages educational ...

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