Television Violence `on the Increase'

Article excerpt

THE AMOUNT of violence on the four main terrestrial television channels is rising, despite increased and broadly based public concern, and stiffer programme curbs drawn up by the BBC and the Independent Television Commission, a study by the Broadcasting Standards Council has found.

The findings, based on an analysis of all programmes broadcast during a week in September, showed that scenes of violence have risen by 40 per cent to four scenes per hour during 1993, compared with 2.9 scenes over the same period in 1992.

The study is the first in Britain to make a year-on-year comparison. News and factual programmes accounted for 86 per cent of the increase, partly because of the war in Bosnia. There were scenes of violence on the news every eight minutes in 1993, compared with once every 21 minutes in 1992. But the study found that most types of programmes showed a rise in violent scenes, except for films. Overall, the proportion containing violence rose from 43 per cent in 1992 to 50 per cent in 1993.

The incidence of bad or potentially offensive language also increased, from 6.9 times an hour in 1992 to 7.6 last year.

The study did find, however, that the watershed was having an impact and was being observed, despite the current debate about whether it should be put back to 10pm to protect the 4 million children who regularly watch after 9pm.

The study found that sex scenes were shown relatively infrequently and were predominantly not explicit. The number of scenes per hour rose from 0.5 in 1992 to 0.7 in 1993, while the average duration dropped from 20 seconds to 16, reducing the potential for embarrassment among family viewing groups.

In the 1992 study, there were 11 portrayals of sexual intercourse, and none in the 1993 survey. …