Some TV Networks Are Suspending Programming During Today's Student Walkout

Students already staged a protest against gun violence in schools at the U.S. Capitol in February

Students already staged a protest against gun violence in schools at the U.S. Capitol in February. Alex Wong—Getty Images

A number of major Viacom channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon went off the air today to recognize the national student walkout in schools across America protesting gun violence.

The suspension coincides with the National School Walkout, which started at 10 a.m.

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The screens of Viacom networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, and BET went black on Wednesday morning.

The walkouts are the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged following the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. According to Vox, the vice chair of Viacom's board, Shari Redstone, is also personally donating $500,000 to the March For Our Lives movement. "With more than 17 young people dying from gun violence every single day, unfortunately no community is safe".

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During the walkout, MTV will hand the controls of its social media accounts over to students.

Viacom's brands will also leverage their reach to raise awareness of the March For Our Lives event planned for March 24, providing on-air and digital coverage. Comedy Central's satirical news shows, led by The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and Jordan Klepper of The Opposition, will keep covering "the growing anti-gun violence movement in the country". "Viacom also has a responsibility to our audiences to do everything we can to elevate the many courageous and bold activists to help them extend the reach and impact of their voices in this important movement", Smalls says. In addition, MTV has set up a website in connection with March For Our Lives, and BET is giving grants to youth activists with ideas on how to lessen gun violence.

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Perhaps most surprising is the promise from CMT (Country Music Television), which Viacom says will "work with the country music industry on its efforts to support gun safety".

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