Letter: Television violence and rising crime

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The Independent Online
Sir: In view of recent tragic events involving children, it is perhaps worth remarking that none of the considerations mentioned by Heather Mills ('Link between crime and TV 'not proven' ', 9 March) remotely justifies either the general tenor of her report, or the stated findings of Guy

Cumberbatch, or the bizarre opinion of 'a media expert' that 'it comes down to a battle of prejudices . . . about who or what relevant to the question of a causal link.

2. Even if, and granting the same assumptions as before, the volume of violence has declined while the crime rate has increased, this does nothing to disprove the view that the violence that is shown - along, say, with increasing access to video violence - is a significant causal factor.

3. The allegedly mitigating consideration that most portrayals of violence are accompanied by the 'firm moral message' that violence is wrong appears, inconsistently, to concede that firm moral messages exert influence where portrayals of violence do not.

4. Certain results of a study are said to suggest that those who watch a lot of television violence are less aggressive than those who watch less. However, this assumes, quite unjustifiably, that if exposure to television violence is linked to crime, then greater exposure automatically means more crime. But there are all sorts of reasons why this may not follow. All the point shows is that if a link is conceded, it would not be an adequate remedy simply to show less violence.

So, where exactly is the evidence to suggest that the link between crime and TV is not at least a reasonable conjecture?

Yours sincerely,



11 March