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Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 18:44 GMT
Watchdog blames TV for yobs
Mary Whitehouse
Mary Whitehouse retired from her role seven years ago
Broadcasters are being blamed for the failure to stem the rise in yob culture by a newly relaunched TV campaign group.

The TV watchdog, founded by veteran campaigner Mary Whitehouse, is changing its name after almost 40 years from the National Viewers and Listeners Association to Mediawatch-UK.

The group is now calling for a new law of bringing broadcasting into disrepute for companies who flout guidelines.

Its first report under its new name says attempts to curb rising crime will prove fruitless if broadcasters continue to use violence to win viewers.

A more socially responsible to programme policy is essential if policies elsewhere are to have any hope of succeeding

Director John Beyer

Director John Beyer said: "Both the prime minister and the home secretary have recently declared war on yob culture and new punitive measures have been promised aimed at curbing this phenomenon.

"Whilst we welcome attempts to restore peace and tranquillity to the nation's streets we believe little will be achieved while the film, video and television industries continue to present crime as entertainment.

"A more socially responsible to programme policy is essential if policies elsewhere are to have any hope of succeeding."

The watchdog has suggested the proposed communications regulator Ofcom could monitor the output and enforce the law.

Mr Beyer added: "When footballers behave badly they can be reprimanded for bringing the game into disrepute.

"I think broadcasters should face the same sort of change when they break the guidelines."

Taste and decency

The National Viewers And Listeners Association (NVALA), formed in 1964 to fight for "taste and decency" on television.

"We hope that Mediawatch-UK is a more user-friendly banner under which to operate and we believe it adequately describes our role," said chairman John Milton Whatmore.

Some 2,000 people attended the first meeting of the campaign group organised by Mrs Whitehouse at Birmingham town hall.

No makeover

Mrs Whitehouse, now 90, stepped down from her position with the organisation seven years ago.

Mr Milton Whatmore said the new name was not a cosmetic makeover.

"It is a result of our organisation examining our core values and activities and assessing if they are still a relevant and worthwhile contribution to society," he said.

"We have concluded that these issues are worth contributing to and we have sought to find a new wavelength on which to communicate to people about them."

See also:

19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Whitehouse against censorship changes
14 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Censors relax film guidelines
14 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Whitehouse attacks 'Viagra' panto
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