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Television violence research project confirmed

9 December 2002 Media Statement

Television violence research project confirmed

Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey and Green MP Sue Kedgley today met with the working group appointed to oversee new research into violence on television.

The research project will look at the portrayal of violence on our television, examine international research for information which could be relevant in this country and evaluate the public policy tools available to control the level and nature of violence on television in New Zealand. The study results from a Green Party initiative to investigate violence on television, for which $300,000 was negotiated during the 2002 Budget. As part of the cooperation agreement between the government and the Greens the project will continue.

Steve Maharey said the depiction and incidence of violence on television continues to be an issue of concern to New Zealanders.

“Many New Zealanders are concerned about the level and nature of violence on television. Parents, in particular, worry about the consequences for their children of viewing violent programming.

“The research project will look at the international evidence on the effects of exposure to television violence, what is being broadcast on our screens and advise whether there is any further cause for concern.

“Importantly the study will also evaluate the tools available in New Zealand to control the level and nature of violence on television - the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Broadcasting Act 1989, codes of practice and the TVNZ Charter - and see how these stack up with responses in other countries.

“The government has appointed a nine-member working group made of broadcasters, programme makers, consumer advocates and academics to select and oversee the researchers who will carry out the study. The researchers will report through the working group to me in September 2003,” Steve Maharey said.

Sarah Aitchison, Manager Stakeholder Communications, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, e-mail: sarah.aitchison@mch.govt.nz.

Attached are details of the Project Group membership and its terms of reference.

Television Violence Project Working Group membership

Dr Rajan Prasad (chair) is an Associate Professor of social work and social policy at Massey University. His research into families led to the establishment of the social workers in schools programme. Dr Prasad served as Race Relations Conciliator between1996-2001.

The chief executives of Television New Zealand Ian Fraser and TV3 Rick Friesen.

Dr Max Abbott is Dean of Health Studies at Auckland University of Technology and Deputy Chairperson of Waitemata District Health Board. He was previously the Director of the Mental Health Foundation and led earlier research into television violence in New Zealand.

John Terris, spokesperson for Viewers for Television Excellence and Mayor of Hutt City, and Jane Parker, a member of the Children’s Television Foundation, will represent advocacy organisations.

Dr Trisha Dunleavy is a senior lecturer and programme director in media studies at Victoria University of Wellington. She is one of New Zealand’s leading researchers into television issues.

Jane Wrightson is chief executive of the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) and will represent programme makers.

Professor Judy McGregor is head of Massey University’s Communication and Journalism Department and was recently appointed as the country’s first Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner. She will represent the Broadcasting Standards Authority, which she has been a member of since 2000.

Television Violence Project Working Group Terms of Reference

The task of the working group is

- to commission a literature search to establish the latest international research findings on:

i. definitions of television violence;

ii. methods of measuring the incidence of television violence; and

iii. any links that have been identified between television violence and social behaviour;

- to evaluate this research, with reference to the New Zealand situation;

- to determine the effectiveness of methods to measure the incidence of television violence in New Zealand, based on the international models surveyed;

- to conduct a limited sampling exercise to determine how the incidence of violence on New Zealand television compares with other countries and with levels in New Zealand that were measured in the past;

- to determine whether the incidence of violence identified in this exercise represents a problem in the context of New Zealand society;

- to evaluate the tools for controlling the level and nature of violence on television in New Zealand - e.g. the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Broadcasting Act 1989, codes of practice, the TVNZ Charter - by comparison with the tools available in comparable countries; and

- to publish a report incorporating recommendations to the Minister of Broadcasting.


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