The Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters, also known as the Television
Code, was a set of ethical standards adopted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for television. The code was established on December 6,
1951. Compliance with the code was indicated by the "Seal of Good Practice",
displayed during closing credits on most US television programs, and on some
TV station sign-on and sign-offs from 1952 through the early 1980s.
The code prohibited the use of profanity, the negative portrayal of family life,
irreverence for God and religion, illicit sex, drunkenness addiction, also the
presentation of cruelty, detailed techniques of crime, the use of and for its
own sake, and the negative portrayal of law enforcement officials, among
The code regulated how performers should dress and move to be within the
"bounds of decency". Further, news reporting was to be "factual, fair and
without bias" and commentary and analysis should be "clearly defined as
such". Broadcasters were to make time available for religious broadcasting
and were discouraged from charging religious bodies for access. Most
importantly, it limited the commercial minutes per hour.
In the wake of a settlement with the Justice Department, the television code
was suspended in 1983.