B.S. Is Acceptable ‘Political Response’ – B.S.A

Media Release 23 July 2012
Family First NZ is disappointed that a complaint against foul language used by a politician, and broadcast unnecessarily as a token gesture during the 6pm news was not upheld by the BSA – but confirms that the so-called 8.30pm watershed for family-friendly viewing continues to be a ‘crock’.

“MP Hone Harawira’s sole contribution to an important political debate was the use of an offensive word. TV3 argued that the use of foul language was apparently acceptable in the context of the government’s asset sales legislation, and that it met ‘audience expectations of the language used by Hone Harawira’. The decision by the BSA to accept this argument confirms that schools should be wary about recommending students to watch television news because of the increasing level of offensive and sexual content disguised as news. It also removes a level of respect previously afforded to political leaders,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Parents are sick and tired of lunging for the remote to protect children from offensive and inappropriate content during family viewing hours – including promos for upcoming adult-rated programmes and sleazy stories on news and current event programmes. This decision continues the trend of flawed decisions.” 

“The B.S.Authority tries to argue that their standards are reflecting community standards. 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. But NZ’ers – including the majority of our young people – are hugely concerned by this trend,” says Mr McCoskrie.

A nationwide poll of 600 young people aged 15-21 poll has found that teenagers – and especially young women – are concerned about declining broadcasting standards. When asked “Do you agree or disagree with this statement – that there is too much sex, bad language and violence on television?” 51% of the young people agreed. Young women were far more likely (57%) than young men (45%) to agree. Those aged 20 and 21 were more likely to agree that those aged under 20.

A similar poll of all NZ’ers in 2010 about programmes broadcast before the 8.30pm watershed found that 65% of respondents were concerned about the content shown before 8.30 pm when teenagers would most likely be watching.

“What the BSA has confirmed through this decision is that ‘B.S.’ is apparently a legitimate political expression to be used at will. Many observers will see the irony in that,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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