Pandering to easily offended…Ofcom reports on audience attitudes to TV, internet TV, and radio

Posted: 21 May, 2015 in Ofcom Internet Censor, Ofcom TV Censor
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Ofcom logo Ofcom has published a survey on audience attitudes to TV and radio. This covers what people find ‘offensive’ on TV and radio, their awareness of and attitudes towards censorship, and their understanding of advertising and product placement. Unsurprisingly the survey supportsOfcom in its role in ‘protecting’ viewers, especially children.The survey reported that most people (79%) had not been offended by anything on TV in the past year. However, one in five had found something offensive, rising to a third (33%) for people aged 65 and over. Those aged between 16 and 24 were least likely to be offended (9% compared with 33% of over 65s). Of course these figures exaggerate the ‘offensiveness’ of TV as they include people who have reported, minimal offensive programming ,or even just one incident in a year.

Of those who had been offended, bad language (44%), violence (41%) and sexual content (41%) were the top issues. Adults below 45 years old were more likely to say they had been offended by some type of discrimination (29% compared with 19% of over-45s).

On average, about half of all people thought current levels of sex (57%), violence (47%) and swearing (52%) on TV were acceptable. 43% felt there was too much violence, 40% too much swearing, while 28% said there was too much sex.

The vast majority of adult TV viewers (90%) knew about the 9pm watershed, with 57% saying about 9pm was the right time while 27% said the watershed should be later.

The report found a clear understanding about broadcast content is controlled via censorship rules, with 82% of adults aware that TV is censored. Most adults felt the current levels of TV and radio censorship were about right (61%), or did not have an opinion (18% for TV and 33% for radio).

Ofcom noted that it has a duty to ‘protect’ viewers from supposedly harmful and offensive material on TV and radio, as well as TV like content on internet connected devices.

Ofcom also notes that it is working with government, other censors, and industry bodies to bring about a common framework for media standards applying to TV, on-demand and radio. This will help ensure people are ‘protected’ and understand what is censored, and the protections in place.

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