Television & Violence

The Television Violence Project: a literature review, content analysis and policy survey.

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The Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication in 2003 conducted a comprehensive investigation into violence on New Zealand television.

Commissioned by the ministerial Working Group on Television Violence, the Television Violence Project involved three aspects: an extensive literature review, content analysis and policy survey.

The Working Group was chaired by Dr Rajen Prasad and included representatives from the television industry, academics with a particular focus in broadcasting, mental health or social policy and other groups associated with television production and broadcasting standards.

Project researchers

The team of researchers consisted of Allan Bell, Barry King, Geoff Bridgman, Philippa Smith, Andrea King, Sharon Harvey, Charles Crothers and Ian Hassall.

Literature review

The literature review section of the project used a dichotomy between behaviourist and active-audience approaches as an organising principle.

It examined a wide range of research, theories and varying methodologies including content analysis, associated with television violence in New Zealand and overseas.

This review of a field which has produced an estimated 3000 to 4000 studies was an exhaustive attempt to encapsulate the development of research dating back several decades.

The review also stretched across diverse disciplines from media research, communications and cultural studies, to medicine, psychology, physiology and sociology.Back to top

Content analysis

The second section of the project was a content analysis of a recorded full week of television, 6am to midnight, on eight channels in New Zealand.

Thirty research assistants were trained to code the amount and type of violence in the 550 hour sample so that it could be compared with other major international studies.

Policy evaluation

Finally an evaluation of regulatory regimes and public policy helped establish the position New Zealand television holds in the international broadcasting arena, identifying areas relating to television violence that could be changed, introduced or improved upon for the betterment of society.Back to top

Published report

The finished report Television Violence in New Zealand – A study of programming and policy in international context, consisting of 261 pages plus appendices, was delivered to the Working Party in December 2003.

The report along with the Working Party recommendations was made public at a press conference held by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in Wellington on 1st April 2004.

The report can be found in the AUT City Campus Library Main Collection. Call Number: 302.2345 TEL


The Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Excellence recognise and reward AUT staff who have made an outstanding contribution or demonstrated exceptional achievement as individuals or as teams.

The TV Violence Project AUT team members were the recipients of the award for the best research team in 2004.Back to top