TV violence 'more offensive than sex'

Violence has replaced sex as the most offensive aspect of television programming, according to research for the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Violence has replaced sex as the most offensive aspect of television programming, according to research for the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Nearly three-fifths of viewers felt there was too much violence on television and almost two-fifths had been so "personally disgusted" by it they had switched off a programme - a 31 per cent increase on the previous year.

The report, "Matters of Offence", said violence was the issue that was most likely to prompt people to turn over - listed by 38 per cent compared with 23 per cent last year - replacing sex, which had been the biggest concern.

There has also been a growth in the number of viewers who spontaneously expressed a worry about the content of programming - 17 points up on last year. When asked for the issue of most concern, 39 per cent chose violence, up 7 points on the year before. That was followed by offensive language (25 per cent) and sex (21 per cent). Declining standards were identified by 10 per cent. But viewersdid not demand that such material be removed.

"In fact, most people thought the majority of violence was justified within the editorial context," explained Stephen Whittle, director of the Broadcasting Standards Commission. He said: "There is no evidence to suggest there is more violence on television than there has been. What we are seeing is an indicator of increasing concern."

One problem highlighted by this year's report is a growing number of people complaining about pre-watershed programming. "There have been concerns expressed about programmes slightly earlier than we would expect. We have contacted broadcasters and asked them to take a harder look at what is going on in the schedule," Mr Whittle said.

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