TV Standards Board Seen As Irrelevant, Ineffective

Media Release 11 Dec 2014
Family First NZ says that the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s 2014 Report reveals that less and less families are bothering to make a complaint despite increasing concerns about broadcasting standards, and that very few complaints are upheld.

“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. Families are now telling us that they think it is pointless complaining, yet they are more and more concerned about declining standards,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Just over 10% of complaints were upheld. Yet NZ’ers – including the majority of our young people – are hugely concerned by declining broadcasting standards. 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.”

Last year the BSA released a survey which shows that their own standards are out of sync with the views of the public. 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.

“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 during the early evening, and even during news programmes which children may be watching for educational purposes,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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 continues to call 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.

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