BSA Is Dragging The Standards Down

Media Release 9 Sep 2013
Family First NZ says that the Broadcasting Standards Authority has released a survey which shows that their own standards are out of sync with the views of the public, and is calling for a pre-vetting system of television programmes with community and family representation.

The survey, What not to Swear: The acceptability of words in Broadcasting, reveals that highly offensive words – deemed unacceptable by half of the respondents in their survey – can still be heard anytime from 8.30pm onwards on television in NZ, and often during so-called family movies.

“The Broadcasting Standards Authority tries to argue that their standards are reflecting community standards and that there is a ‘softening’ of attitudes. However, it is quite clear that as they allow broadcasters to push the boundaries, the standards are lowered, offensive material becomes more mainstream, and is then used far more in the media,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“But we now know that NZ’ers – including the majority of our young people – are hugely concerned by this trend. A survey of 1,000 NZ’ers in 2010 found that 2/3’rds of NZ’ers were concerned about broadcasting standards, and a survey of 600 teenagers in NZ at the end of 2011 found that the majority of teens were also concerned.”

“Parents are sick and tired of lunging for the remote to protect children from offensive and inappropriate content – including promos for upcoming adult-rated programmes,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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 and sexual innuendo. Another area of huge concern for parents is 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.

Senior Labour MP Lianne Dalziel recently said the “Adults Only” television watershed should be moved to 7.30pm as 8.30pm no longer reflected the content of the shows broadcast.

“Broadcasting standards is an oxymoron, aided and abetted by the so-called watchdog which doesn’t act until after the fact, and has displayed poor judgement,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is calling for the development and enforcing of higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content including stronger censorship of violence, sexual content and objectionable language, and a complete overhaul of the BSA, ASA and Censorship Board with greater community and family representation.

ENDS