TV watching linked to criminal activity

Media Matters in NZ | Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The latest report from Otago University (Dominion Post today) says what Media Matters and other advocacy groups around the world have been saying for 25 years, i.e. that watching repetitive violence on TV encourages the young and the vulnerable to see violence as a solution to their problems.

The pity is that in the pursuit of advertising dollars, the electronic media continue to expose kids to violence without taking account of the research, which dates back 40 years, and which has resulted in growing levels of youth crime involving violence in NZ.

The electronic media is so powerful in this country that they are now second only to the booze lobby in the extent to which they can twist politicians around their little fingers.  The result is the most light handed regulatory regime in the Western world, which sees the statutory body supposed to protect viewers, the Broadcasting Standards Authority, actually setting out to punish complainants with fines, as they did in the case of serial complainer Donald McDonald.  The BSA, instead of sitting on its hands, needs to be seen to be taking on the television moguls and setting decent standards, like for instance, insisting on a visible Watershed to protect young viewers.

Gutless politicians and a pusillanimous complaints body are not a good prescription for scaling down our levels of youth crime.

John Terris
Media Matters President
Tel. (04) 566 3175
55 Queen's Grove Lower Hutt