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What you REALLY think about swearing on TV: It's offensive and sets a bad example... are you listening Ofcom?



By Paul Revoir

Last updated at 8:41 AM on 12th June 2010



Swearing on television offends millions of viewers, according to a survey commissioned by the Daily Mail, directly contradicting controversial claims that foul language is considered acceptable.


A majority also believe bad language on television has worsened over the past decade and that it is directly responsible for an increase in swearing by youngsters, despite findings by Ofcom.


The TV watchdog's study, labelled 'bizarre' yesterday, was based on just 130 viewers with a disproportionate focus on minority groups, including travellers and transsexuals.


But research by the polling firm Ipsos MORI for the Mail, in response to the regulator's claims, reveals TV swearing is still a major cause for concern – especially among women and the over-55s.


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The nationwide survey of more than 800 viewers, weighted to reflect a cross-section of the population, showed that four out of five believe the problem has worsened over the past decade.

And a quarter of all respondents, including a third of women, said they had been personally upset by incidents of swearing in the past 12 months.


Gordon Ramsay, Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton were celebrities cited as having caused offence.


No fewer than three-quarters of those polled said they thought TV swearing was a negative influence on young people and 68 per cent believed it had directly led to young people using more bad language.







More than 40 per cent found swearing on TV personally offensive and around the same amount said it was a 'problem'.


Again the figures were significantly higher for women and over-55s.

Around one-third of women and 45 per cent of over-55s said they had been personally offended by incidents of TV swearing in the last year.


Meanwhile there were particular concerns across both sexes and all age groups about swearing before the 9pm watershed.


The findings are in stark contrast to the surprising claims made by Ofcom.


The media regulator's report, said to represent a 'barometer' of attitudes on the issue, claimed viewers largely accepted mild swearing at any time of day, while some were relaxed about stronger words before the 9pm watershed.


The study included a general UK sample of 94 participants – including ethnic minorities – as well as a separate minorities group with 35 participants from transgender, travellers, gay, lesbian and bisexual or disabled audiences.


The groups were asked to grade 56 potentially offensive words. Last night an Ofcom spokesman said: 'Ofcom's research shows viewers are still concerned about offensive language. The research makes sure that Ofcom stays in tune with public expectations of what they hear on TV and radio.

'We are not changing our robust rules and will continue to protect the public, and in particular children, from offensive material.

'We will take firm action against broadcasters if they fail to maintain the appropriate standards.'

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