Families Say Broadcasting Standards Failing – Poll

Family First NZ says that 2/3’rds of NZ’ers are concerned about the level of foul language, violence and sexual content during family viewing times and it is time that the Broadcasting Standards and Advertising Standards Authorities were made to reflect community and family concerns about what they are allowing.

In a poll of 1,000 NZ’ers, respondents were asked, “Television broadcasters are obliged to protect children from sexual content, violent material, and language that exceeds current norms of good taste and decency. Are you concerned about the type of language used, or the level of violence and sex shown on TV before 8.30 pm when children are likely to be watching?”, 65% said they are concerned, 29% said they aren’t, and 6% didn’t know or refused to answer. Women and over 60 year olds are most concerned.

“Ironically, this comes just after a report by the BSA trying to argue that people are becoming less offended by foul language in the media,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The BSA and ASA argue that their standards are reflecting community standards. However, it is quite clear that as they allow broadcasters and advertisers to push the boundaries, the standards are lowered by default, offensive material becomes more mainstream, and are then used far more in the media. But now we know that NZ’ers are hugely concerned by this trend.”

A Family First investigation of 15 programmes on four free-to-air channels between 6pm and 8.30pm in 2008 found a saturation of foul language, sexual innuendo, and promotion of Adult Only programmes.

Words featured during supposed family viewing times included b**ch, fu*k, a*s, pi**, bast**d, bl**dy, and included expressions such as “holy f**k”, “sex with your mother”, “shove bottle up his a** ”, and “a** bit** ”. Among the worst offenders was Two And A Half Men which screens on TV2 at 7.30pm. Offensive language included “son of a bit** “, “damn” “hell”, “a** “, and constant sexual talk including references to “licking”, “stiffy”, “orgasms”, and “masturbation”.

Also of huge concern was the number of programmes which are rated for Adult viewing only screening well after the watershed time of 8.30, yet were promoted between 6pm and 8.30pm. Examples included promos during TV1’s 6pm News for Virgin School screened at 9.30pm and Mistresses screened at 8.30pm, a promo on TV3 before 8.30 for Outrageous Fortune at 9.30pm including scenes of a strip show, and a promo for Playboy Mansion on C4 at 7pm.

“The term ‘broadcasting standards’ and ‘advertising standards’ are complete oxymorons. Parents do not want their children bombarded with foul language, violence, and sexual content – yet broadcasters are pushing the boundaries with little to no retribution,” says Mr McCoskrie. “The BSA and the ASA are the last places to look for a moral conscience and standards appropriate for families.”

Family First is calling for the development and enforcing of higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content including levels of violence, sexual content and objectionable language, and a complete overhaul of the BSA, ASA and Censorship Board with greater community representation and regular changing of board members after limited terms of office to avoid desensitisation or lack of accountability.

The Curia Market Research poll surveyed 1,000 people, was conducted between 24 and 28 March 2010, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.
ENDS