Report examines int’l take on TV violence

While the debate over violence on television has recently put Hollywood on the front burner in the U.S., similar concerns have been heating up the international airwaves, according to a new study.

To date, the Canadian government has promoted an advertising boycott of violent TV shows; Spanish broadcasters are cutting any violent content from kids’ programming; Germany has seen the start of an anti-media-violence ad campaign by broadcast networks; and Australia and New Zealand have adopted TV rating systems.

This is according to a 59-page report from a group called Mediascope, a non-profit org promoting positive social and public health images in entertainment.

The ratings systems in 36 countries and provinces were surveyed, and five nations — Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden and the U.S. — were studied in depth.

“Other countries take the issue ofmedia violence much more seriously than we do in the United States,” said Joel Federman, Mediascope director of research.

Federman, who authored the report, said those nations take more aggressive measures against portrayals of violence than the U.S.

For example, in Sweden, the distribution of films or television shows that depict “sexual violence or coercion,” or “graphic violence toward people or animals in a detailed or drawn-out manner,” is subject to fines or imprisonment of up to two years, the report states.

In Britain, American films are rarely edited because of sexual content but are often cut for their portrayals of violence, especially those violent techniques that could be imitated by children.

The study notes that the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s rating system is more restrictive in regards to sexual depictions than portrayals of violence.

Among its conclusions, the report states that the public’s growing concern about depictions of violence has likely been bolstered by the growing ancillary markets for entertainment, including cable, homevideo and pay-per-view.

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