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Monday, 30 April, 2001, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Viewers want children 'protected from TV'
Family watching TV
Viewers are concerned at what children are watching
Viewers are keen to protect children against sex and violence on TV - but feel celebrities deserve their loss of privacy, research suggests.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) review studied feelings towards the portrayal of sex and violence, offensive language and issues of fairness and privacy on TV.

The report, Reflecting Community Values: Public Attitudes to Broadcasting Regulation, was compiled using small, diverse focus groups.

From these findings a short questionnaire was compiled and 2008 people were questioned face-to-face.


Broadcasters and regulators should ensure that the public do not feel undervalued and disempowered

Lord Dubs of Battersea
The results suggested that viewers are still concerned about the amount of swearing on television, especially before the watershed.

Most people questioned said the watershed was a necessity.

Intelligence

With the recent furore surrounding the tabloid sting of Sophie Wessex the question of privacy is still a hot topic.

But the majority of those polled, both young and old, believed that celebrities had forfeited their rights to privacy by their lifestyle choice.

Politicians' rights to privacy were a little more blurred with more "traditional" viewers believing they had no privacy rights.

"Liberal" respondents felt a politician's private life should be reported only when it related to their elected role.

But members of the public who allowed television cameras to follow them around should not be granted privacy, was the majority view.

Less than one third of people thought that those who volunteered to be on television need not be treated with respect.

But 62% per cent believed the individual should be respected.

Choice

When asked whether it was acceptable for broadcasters to invade privacy on a matter of "public interest", 43% still felt it was not justified.

Many also thought media intrusion into grief and funerals was at an unacceptable level.

All the groups interviewed believed primarily that the individual was responsible for choosing what they and their families watched.

Only 24% felt it was the responsibility of the broadcasters or programme-makers.

The review also highlights fears about the explosion of television choice not necessarily equating to better quality.

Chairman of the BSC, Lord Dubs of Battersea, said: "Broadcasters and regulators should ensure that the public do not feel undervalued and disempowered.

"They must find ways of including them in the new technological revolution that is taking place and involving them in the debate about the range of services on offer."

Respect for the viewers intelligence was a key issue, with a concern for the "patronising" behaviour of broadcasters in their bid to grab bigger audiences.

Expectations are greatly increased for the BBC, with greater disappointment if it fails to respect certain standards such as swearing and decency.

Participants also want broadcasters to reflect community values such as honesty and tolerance in programming.

See also:

22 Oct 00 | UK
TV watchdog boss resigns
28 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Closer links for regulators
09 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Kilroy slates broadcasting watchdog
12 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Broadcasters welcome Ofcom
25 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Sex on TV complaints soar
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