NZ Herald Friday Sep 3, 2010
A respected children’s media expert is lamenting that kids have been sacrificed to sleaze under New Zealand’s TV standards system. Ruth Zanker is a lecturer at Christchurch Polytechnic and a researcher who has specialised in children and the media. She has noted a change. “There is a general sexualising that has gone on with tabloidisation of media – sex is the easy way of making a hit and it boosts ratings. Children are being sacrificed on the altar of ratings,” she says. Zanker has noted an increasing level of sexuality creeping into early prime time as the TV networks chase ratings. It is a difficult time and parents are either unwilling or unable to police their kids’ viewing. Zanker says New Zealand’s broadcasting laws have created the problem. The Broadcasting Standards Authority acts on complaints. But few complain and the BSA has steered at freedom of speech rather the protection of children, she says.