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British Public Demands Accountability for Film Censors

2008-02-27

February 27, 2008, Press Dispensary. Mediawatch UK ( http://www.mediawatchuk.org ), the UK broadcasting watchdog, today publishes an important survey* showing that 80% of the British public wants the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to be fully transparent and accountable to Parliament.

The results of the survey, carried out by ComRes ( http://www.comres.co.uk ), coincide with a Private Members Bill introduced by Julian Brazier MP (Canterbury), which is receiving a second reading in the House of Commons today. The Bill attracted publicity earlier this month when the Board classified a number of video works, banned by the Director of Public Prosecutions, such as ‘SS Experiment Camp’.

John Beyer, director of Mediawatch-uk, comments: “The results confirm what we have always believed. The British public continues to retain a high degree of common sense and is not impressed by the self interested demands of the film industry. We again call upon the BBFC to review its guidelines on violence, call upon the games industry to act more responsibly on violence and call upon the Office of Communications to enforce the terms of the Broadcasting Code much more vigorously, particularly with regard television programmes that condone and glamorise seriously antisocial behaviour and violence.”

With 76% of respondents wanting the amount of violence permitted in films, games and on television to be more tightly regulated, and 68% believing there are links between violent crime and the level of violence in films and on television, there is great public concern that the BBFC’s classification decisions should reflect broad public opinion and suggests that the general public is dissatisfied with the current system.

Beyer continues: “We believe that the Prime Minister, who has expressed personal concern about all the violence and pornography that children can so easily see, was wrong to exclude film and television from the remit given to psychologist Dr Tanya Byron whose report is due next month. Film is a very powerful global influence and it is astonishing that the Board has escaped proper scrutiny for almost 100 years. It is right that Parliament should represent public concerns and we hope very much that Mr Brazier’s Bill will go through unopposed.”


* Mediawatch: Survey on violence in films, games and television, February 2008

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Notes for editors
About Mediawatch-uk
Mediawatch-uk, founded in the 1960s by the late Mary Whitehouse CBE, campaigns for decency and accountability in the media. It provides an independent voice for those concerned about taste and decency issues and has an established reputation for principled protest, informed comment and reliable research.

Methodology note
ComRes interviewed 1002 GB adults by telephone between 22nd and 24th February 2008. Data was weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. The full table of contents of the above survey can be viewed at www.comres.co.uk

About Julian Brazier’s BBFC Bill
Julian Brazier’s BBFC (Accountability to Parliament and Appeals) Bill aims to give Parliament powers, through the Home Affairs Select Committee, to scrutinize the top five appointments to the British Board of Film Classification, the Classification Guidelines and to improve the current appeals system enabling the public, not just film makers, to appeal against BBFC decisions.

For further information, please contact:
John Beyer, director
Mediawatch-uk
Tel: 01233 633936 / 07749 753227
Email:
Site: www.mediawatchuk.org

Media contacts

John Beyer, director
Tel: 01233 633936 / 07749 753227
Email:
Site: www.mediawatchuk.org

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