The Christian lobby is apparently in the warpath against television it claims has ramped up sex and violence content.
The Australian Christian Lobby has launched the “Tame the Tube” campaign to combat what it says are industry attempts to weaken TV standards (Mary Whitehouse’s “Clean Up TV” campaign anyone?).
“Sex, violence and foul language are normal fare these days as TV networks push the boundaries,” ACL managing director Jim Wallace told the Daily Telegraph.
The group has also called for tighter restrictions on the promotion of M, MA and AV programs at times when children watch TV.
It claimed Underbelly should not be able to be advertised in earlier time slots.
Old targets Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Californication were also in the firing line.
Yet the latter two shows have barely been on air in 2009, with Californication only in late night repeats. Underbelly is the second most popular show on television this year, behind MasterChef Australia. Are so many other viewers so out of step with community standards?
The Herald Sun notes Family Voice Australia also wants change.
Free TV no longer publishes statistics on the most complained programs, choosing instead to cut the numbers by genre. CEO Julie Flynn said its yet-to-be-published 2008-09 annual report would show complaints had fallen to 807.
Nine gave an unusual undertaking to ACMA that it would not breach the Code of Practice for Underbelly this year, pledging sponsorship monies as penalties if it was found to have been breached. So far no breaches have yet been identified by ACMA.
ACL needs to address its issues to Senator Conroy or the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice review, rather than targeting specific shows and networks. Of course that doesn’t read as well in the press as dropping TV titles. ACMA oversees our classifications and their definitions. The review will not effect change to ABC, SBS or Pay Television.
For such a vocal lobby on television standards it is also disappointing the ACL doesn’t address concerns other than classifications in mostly fictional programmes. Issues including the declining standards of current affairs programmes and duty of care in reality television are overlooked. Even a healthy debate about religious programming would be worthwhile (please ensure Peter Popoff never returns?).
In the Audience Inventory conducted by TV Tonight last month, viewers were more concerned about Banning Late Night Adult ads than they were Overhauling Classifications. Of the 800+ readers surveyed, only 11% voted it as a Very Important issue. 17 other Free to Air issues rated higher.
So what’s the real issue here? A few rude bits in an MA timeslot seen by consenting adults? Or that ACMA’s guidelines no longer apparently meet community standards?
All together now: “Won’t somebody think of the children?”