CONSUMER HORIZON

Changing Attitudes Of Viewers And Listeners Revealed

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By Cyber Era Reporter

TV and radio programmes that are unsuitable for children, or which contain hateful or discriminatory content, should be the priorities for Ofcom’s work in upholding standards – according to viewers and listeners. Ofcom is the TMT regulator in the UK.

These findings are from a new study, published by Ofcom  Friday, April 3 into audience expectations in the digital world. “We periodically carry out in-depth research to understand audiences’ concerns, needs and priorities to help ensure our broadcasting rules remain effective and up to date,” the regulator said.

The research, stated Ofcom,  revealed  broad support for broadcasting rules, which ensured audiences were protected while freedom of expression was upheld. “And there is also widespread agreement among audiences that society’s views around offence have shifted in recent years,” Ofcom added.

In particular, viewers and listeners told Ofcom that:

  • they expect regulation to focus on cases of content inciting crime and causing harm, even if it airs on smaller, non-mainstream channels or stations aimed at particular communities; and
  • discriminatory content against specific groups is more concerning than other offensive content, such as nudity and swearing, and should be prioritised.

The pattern of offence-related audience complaints made to Ofcom over the last five years also reflect these shifting priorities. Concerns around swearing, for example, have trended downwards – falling by 45 per cent between 2015 and 2019. In comparison, complaints about racial and gender discrimination have increased by 224 per cent and 148 per cent respectively, during the same period.

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