8 December 2008
Shortland St Sex Scene ‘Tip of The Iceberg’
Family First NZ says that the Shortland Street sex scene that breached standards of decency and good taste according to the Broadcasting Standards Authority ruling is
simply the tip of the iceberg.
While welcoming the decision, Family First says that family viewing on television between 6pm and 8.30pm is saturated
with sexual themes and innuendo and foul language. Their comments come as a result of an investigation of 15 programmes
between November 4 -13.
“We were appalled at the constant diet of sexual content and foul language on free-to-air television during times when
families should feel safe when watching programmes,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Yet it
is significant that TVNZ, in their defense of the complaint, argued that Shortland St regularly dealt with adult themes – despite being in a ‘family viewing’ slot.”
In Family First’s investigation, words featured during supposed family viewing times included b**ch, fu*k, a*s, pi**,
bast**d, bl**dy, and included expressions such as “holy f**k”, “sex with your mother”, “shove bottle up his a** ”, and
“a** bit** ”.
“Television viewing is an integral part of family life but the so-called family watershed time is being called into
question. Broadcasters are normalising the use of foul language and sexual content to children and young people. Parents
do not want their children bombarded with foul language and sexual content – yet broadcasters are pushing the boundaries
with little to no retribution,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is calling for television networks to take seriously their responsibility to protect families and children
from material that is offensive and disturbs or adversely influences young people’s attitudes and behaviour.
They are also calling for the development and enforcing of higher standards for TV, film, radio and advertising content
including levels of violence, sexual content and objectionable language, and a complete overhaul of the BSA, ASA and
Censorship Board with regular changing of board members after limited terms of office to avoid desensitisation or lack
“Standards should be developed according to a family perspective, not an individual rights or freedom of expression perspective,” says Mr McCoskrie.