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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 18:31 GMT
Campaigner Mary Whitehouse dies
Mary Whitehouse
Mary Whitehouse started campaigning in the 60s
Broadcasting standards campaigner Mary Whitehouse has died at the age of 91.

For more than 30 years Mrs Whitehouse fought to raise standards in the media, making her a national figure.

A spokesman for the BBC said Mrs Whitehouse had "kept broadcasters on their toes" with her feisty and dedicated campaigning style.


She greatly enriched the public debate about media freedom and responsibility

Dr George Carey
A statement from the Abberton Manor Nursing Home in Colchester, Essex, where Mrs Whitehouse died, said she passed away peacefully on Friday after becoming increasingly frail in recent months.

The public morals champion began her career with the Clean Up TV Campaign in 1964.

It became the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association (NVLA) the following year and she finally stepped down as its president in 1994.

'Distinctive'

John Beyer, director of NVLA successor Mediawatch, said Mrs Whitehouse had been committed to protecting children and society from poor standards in the media.

He said: "Although she was often seen as a thorn in the side of the upper echelons of TV, I have heard it said that if she hadn't existed broadcasters would have had to invent her."

Former controller of BBC1 and Channel 4 ex-chief executive Michael Grade praised her good-humoured determination.

Mary Whitehouse
Mrs Whitehouse was 91

But he added: "She really wanted television to be propaganda for a very moral view of the world, not the imperfect world we live in.

"She was really detached from the reality of the creative process.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said her distinctive contribution would be greatly missed.

"In reminding broadcasters and others of their obligations in respect of taste and decency she greatly enriched the public debate about media freedom and responsibility," he said.

Mrs Whitehouse, who leaves three sons, had been a resident of the nursing home since 1999.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Higham
"She successfully prosecuted Gay News"
Former TV executive Michael Grade
"She was a very sincere campaigner"
Lord Rees Mogg,
first chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Council, says broadcasters had respect for her
See also:

23 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Whitehouse 'kept TV on its toes'
19 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Whitehouse against censorship changes
01 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Watchdog blames TV for yobs
14 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Whitehouse attacks 'Viagra' panto
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