Gore ga­lore on net­work TV

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV -

VI­O­LENCE on Amer­i­can broad­cast TV net­works’ dra­mas can equal the graphic gore of more no­to­ri­ous cable shows like The Walk­ing Dead, though they carry milder parental cau­tions, a new US study found.

Scenes of stab­bings, shoot­ings, rape, de­cap­i­ta­tion and mu­ti­la­tion in­vari­ably re­ceived a TV-14 “par­ents strongly cau­tioned” rat­ing on net­work TV, ac­cord­ing to the Par­ents Tele­vi­sion Coun­cil study re­leased last week.

But sim­i­lar fare on cable TV typ­i­cally was given the most strin­gent la­bel, TV-MA for ma­ture au­di­ences only, re­searchers for the me­dia watch­dog group found.

“There are zero se­ries rated TVMA on broad­cast,” said the me­dia watch­dog coun­cil Pres­i­dent Tim Win­ter, de­spite pro­grammes that are awash in vi­o­lent scenes.

It is vi­tal to ex­am­ine the me­dia’s ef­fect on chil­dren and real-world vi­o­lence, Win­ter said.

The study of 14 se­ries dur­ing a four-week pe­riod found a 6% dif­fer­ence in the over­all in­ci­dence of vi­o­lence of all types on cable ver­sus broad­cast, with 1,482 vi­o­lent acts on the cable shows and 1,392 on the net­work se­ries.

Fed­er­ally reg­u­lated broad­cast­ers face sanc­tions if they cross the line on in­de­cency or ex­ple­tives but not vi­o­lence.

Un­der po­lit­i­cal and so­cial pres­sure in the mid-1990s, a vol­un­tary episode rat­ing sys­tem was es­tab­lished by the TV in­dus­try to be used with the so-called V-chip that can block shows elec­tron­i­cally.

Net­works find it fi­nan­cially vi­tal to avoid ap­ply­ing TV-MA rat­ings, Win­ters said, which scare off ad­ver­tis­ers.

TV-14 warns that a pro­gram may in­clude in­tense vi­o­lence, sex or lan­guage not suit­able for chil­dren un­der 14, while TV-MA is in­tended for shows that might have in­de­cent lan­guage, graphic vi­o­lence or ex­plicit sex­u­al­ity, ac­cord­ing to the TV Parental Guide­lines web­page.

The PTC study de­fined graphic as “es­pe­cially vivid, bru­tal and re­al­is­tic acts of vi­o­lence” that are ex­plic­itly de­picted. Among the net­work ex­am­ples cited:

A bar fight scene on NBC’s Rev­o­lu­tion in which a char­ac­ter wields a sword and a dag­ger to slash open a man’s chest, cut another’s neck and stab a third in the chest. The blood-spat­tered char­ac­ter pulls his sword from the last vic­tim’s body.

A woman is tor­tured in cap­tiv­ity, with an im­planted cam­era send­ing im­ages of her agony online in an episode of CBS’ Crim­i­nal Minds. An FBI agent watches as a ham­mer is driven into the vic­tim’s head.

Other broad­cast shows in the study in­cluded NBC’s The Black­list, Fox’s Sleepy Hol­low, CBS’ CSI and NBC’s Law & Or­der: Spe­cial Vic­tims Unit.

Win­ter said his group’s study, taken to­gether with an re­port study that gun vi­o­lence in PG-13 movies ri­vals such scenes in R-rated films, “starts to weave to­gether a fab­ric that ur­gently needs a pub­lic re­sponse.” — AP

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