Chairman's Keynote Speech by John Milton Whatmore
At last year's AGM I alluded to the Culture War we were waging
against a society which seemed not to care that the underpinning pillars that keep Society
safe, sound, tolerant and free were greatly endangered, and indeed being eroded.
During the last year have seen more depressing statistics published to
support the argument that Mediawatch-UK still needs to be brave in its campaigning for
honest and decent programming on Television and radio, and vigilant in its monitoring of
media output and lobbying of government legislation.
- 40% of all children born in the UK last year were
born out of wedlock.
- Teenage girls in the UK are 5 times more likely to
become pregnant than any other country in Europe.
- A recent Home Office Report published earlier this
month indicated that residents in England and Wales run a higher risk of being a victim of
crime, than in any country in Europe, the United States and Japan.
- Violent crime is rising faster in Britain than
anywhere in Europe too
- Violent crime including Muggings and violent
assault has risen sharply by 16% in the last year.
- England & Wales has the second worst case
history in the world for "victimisation risk" the chances of an individual
becoming the victim of a crime or an attempted crime in a given year.
- And England and Wales also topped the European
league for Car Theft, Burglary, robbery, personal assault and sex attacks.
Against this backdrop we have a Film Industry forever trying to push
back the barriers of taste and decency and a Film censorship body intent on becoming more
and more liberal in its attitude.
We have a Television Industry, which is more concerned with ratings and
driven to commercial profits than it is with supplying wholesome public broadcasting. And
we have toothless watchdogs and regulatory bodies that can't or won't arbitrate
in favour of taste and decency.
It is not fashionable at present to link public morals with public
behaviour. Whenever I have been participating on radio programmes this year or being
interviewed in the Press I have been given a fair hearing until I mention public morals,
then I have been moved on to another subject.
The media does not like being reminded of the fact that it is
contributing to a corruption of public morals. I have been encouraged though on several
occasions when I have contributed to radiophone ins, to hear that many callers agreed with
I said it last year and I'll repeat it again this year...THERE
IS MORE REASON FOR MEDIAWATCH-UK TO EXIST NOW THAN EVER BEFORE.
Why do I assert that? Because we are now living in a society which
subscribes to self-regulation...people know what's best for
themselves...Society does not need to be nannied...individuals can make up their own
mind what they require to lead their lives.
That enlightened attitude and liberal policy should, I venture to
suggest be resisted at all corners of the argument. All the evidence suggests that it has
produced a society, which at best is self-indulgent and at worst is morally and criminally
Sociological behaviour is a very complex issue and I am not going to
insult your intelligence by claiming that the principles Mediawatch-UK stands for would at
a stroke solve all the problems.
But we have to help . Where has all the cultural and enlightened changes
made in the last 50 years got us? The British Crime Survey has estimated that the instance
of crime has risen from 500,000 in that time to a staggering 20 Million today.
- The young gang member needs to discover right from
- He needs to have sound role models to which he can
- The messages he receives from the airways of
Television and Radio need to wholesome.
- He needs to be encouraged to recognise the value of
life and compassion to others.
- He needs to discover that his life could be
enriched through service as opposed to crime.
- He needs to be inspired to use his talents and
gifts in a constructive way.
That's quite a shopping list isn't it?
But you know mediawatch-uk can, and does, help with the process
of ticking off the items on that list.
- The Ministers and Committee Members who are pouring
all this money into the welfare of this boys future need to be taking seriously, the
appeals and concerns from mediawatch-uk and like-minded organisations who have a genuine
contribution to make towards a Law abiding and peaceful society.
Next time you see a violent image on the screen be sure that it is not
helping this boy's rehabilitation. Next time you see robbery and violence glorified
on television be sure that it is not constructive to building useful role models for young
people. Next time you see a national newspaper bankroll the return of a convicted criminal
to this country after 40 years on the run from justice be sure that it is sending the
wrong signals to young minds.
Next time to see images on TV of people taking drugs in whatever context
be sure that it is contributing to ill health, misery, addiction, negative dependence and
Crime. Next time you hear the reasonable tones of the liberal great and good droning on
about Society lightening up and extolling Self Regulation ...be sure that it is a
recipe for a Society lacking in confidence, harmony and peace.
Many years ago Mary Whitehouse said if you feed violent scenes to the
public via the television screen, you will end up with a violent society.
mediawatch-uk with limited financial resources will continue to lobby
Parliament, programme makers and Media Authorities. It will continue to articulate the
concerns of those who believe that taste and decency are essential elements in the make up
of an homogenous society. It will continue in some small way to try and influence the
minds and hearts of young people like that young gang member, for the benefit of his
future and ours.
Thank you all for your continuing support.