LETTER : You can blame violence on the box, Mr Bragg

From Mr Philip Graham

Sir: Melvyn Bragg suggests that those concerned about the impact of TV and video violent images on the behaviour of children and young people are hooked on the notion this is the single cause of crime and violent behaviour. No one I know who is concerned about this matter thinks this is the case.

There is a strong consensus, reflected in several recent academic reviews, that the scientific evidence supports the view that violent media images play a small but definite part in raising the level of violence in our society, particularly among vulnerable groups, but that there are other, more important adverse influences.

The recent study by David Gauntlett, so effectively publicised by Melvyn Bragg, is highly tendentious, highlighting negative findings from studies that are generally regarded as seriously flawed, and destructively criticising positive studies more robust in their methodology.

The issue of censorship is a complex one, involving as it does, the conflict of two important principles - the protection of children and freedom of expression. Discussion is seriously impeded by Mr Bragg's unjustified attribution of naivety to those with whom he does not agree.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Graham


National Children's Bureau

London, EC1

4 August