U.K. Regulator Orders Study on TV Violence


LONDON – U.K. television regulator Ofcom has ordered a study into violence on shows that people younger than 18 are likely to watch, as well as consumers' attitudes toward violence.

The research will focus on shows that air before or soon after Britain's so-called 9 p.m. broadcast "watershed," which is the time after which programs that might be unsuitable for children can be shown.

"Material unsuitable for children should not, in general, be shown before 9 p.m. or after 5:30 a.m.," according to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code. "Unsuitable material can include everything from sexual content to violence, graphic or distressing imagery and swearing."

"Given the lack of recent detailed studies specifically into viewers’ attitudes to violence on television, Ofcom has commissioned new independent research on this subject," the agency said Tuesday. "This research will further inform us about the level of concern about violence included in television programs scheduled before and immediately after the watershed and any areas of particular concern to viewers, e.g. specific types of violence or genres of program."

Ofcom said it expects the research to be completed this year and that it plans to publish the results "as soon as possible in 2014."

The regulator on Tuesday also reminded broadcasters to limit the amount of violence they air before the watershed. "Broadcasters should consider whether individual acts of violence within a program are suitable, as well as where the overall tone is malevolent, menacing and threatening, that this also remains suitably limited," it said.

Last year, Ofcom published research that showed the percentage of adults who felt there was too much sex, violence and swearing on television has dropped by roughly a third from 2005, when previous data was collected.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai


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