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|Motto||A 21st-century watch for a 21st-century world|
|Legal status||Non-profit organisation|
Mediawatch-UK, formerly known as the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association (National VALA or NVLA), is a pressure group in the United Kingdom, which campaigns against the publication and broadcast of media content that it views as harmful and offensive, such as violence, hate speech against any race, creed or sexual orientation, xenophobia, and profanity.
NVLA was founded in 1965 by Mary Whitehouse to succeed the earlier Clean-Up TV Campaign, which Whitehouse co-founded with her husband Ernest and the Reverend Basil and Norah Buckland early in the previous year. Mrs Whitehouse remained as the group's leader until 1994, when she was succeeded by John Beyer. NVLA changed its name to the current Mediawatch-uk in 2001. Mediawatch-UK are now preparing to launch a new campaign tackling 21st-century concerns, which includes tackling the effects of hate speech and xenophobia on children and young adults.
Mediawatch-UK monitors traditional broadcast channels, as well as social and digital media, publishes reports about programme content, and responds to Government and other consultations on broadcasting and digital policy. It argues for greater parliamentary accountability in recognising and tackling the risks inherent in digital platforms. It also highlights the need for both governments and individual households to be proactive, not just reactive, in monitoring risks online.
Previously the organisation was mainly concerned with taste and decency issues but it is now entering a new phase, and is due to launch a series of initiatives to help promote social cohesion and safety for all children, young adults, and families, irrespective of background and dynamic. A series of podcasts is due to be launched in 2019, along with a number of public consultations.[needs update]
Along with around 400 others Mediawatch-UK responded to a Home Office consultation concerning extreme pornography in December 2005. In the Mediawatch-UK response it was suggested that the possession of allegedly "hard-core" pornography, as currently classified R18 by the British Board of Film Classification and, therefore, legally sold in high street sex shops (R18 classification), should be included in the range of extreme pornography that is the subject of the Home Office consultation. It is proposed that possession of extreme material would become a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. Mediawatch-UK are due to launch a series of 'keep safe online' initiatives for young people.
Hate speech and xenophobia
In the wake of the EU Referendum, the Home Office acknowledged an increase in hate crime in the UK. In 2019, Mediawatch-UK will launch a campaign to highlight the effects of hate crime and xenophobia on children, providing guidance on how to help children keep safe and feel supported.[needs update]
- "Mary Whitiehouse Obituary". The Telegraph. 24 November 2001. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- "For Family Values in the Media". Mediawatch-UK. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "For Family Values in the Media". Mediawatch-UK. 20 June 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2016-2017 (Report). Retrieved 4 March 2018.