Watchdog Report Shows Rising TV Violence
The amount of violence being shown on prime-time terrestrial TV has increased over the last four years, according to a report published today by the BBC, the BSC and the ITC.
The report, which monitored TV output over two seven-day periods in 2001 and 1999 and compared it to similar periods in 1997 and 1998, shows that the levels of violent scenes or acts of violence reported in news programming doubled between 1998 and 2001. According to the ITC, this was largely due to coverage of the events of 11 September, which contributed to violence on the news accounting for almost a quarter of all violence shown on TV.
Overall the depiction of violence in fictional programmes increased, with over 70% of those monitored during 2001 containing violent scenes, compared to 66% in 1997. There was also found to be more violence in soap operas and light entertainment programmes, with the number of violent scenes rising by 0.4 scenes per hour in soap operas and by 1.4 scenes per hour in light entertainment shows.
Director of the BSC, Paul Bolt said: "Obviously the impact and potential harm of violent images are greatly affected by their context and presentation. However, there remains considerable public concern about violence on television and the regulators shall remain especially vigilant in policing the watershed."
Stephen Whittle, the BBC's controller of editorial policy said: "Although this research is coloured by the coverage of the events of 11 September, it is a useful guide, We are very aware that violence is a concern of viewers and this report helps to build a qualitative picture of what is happening across the channels."
Subscribers can access ten years of media news and analysis in the Archive