Should the BBC allow swearing on air?

June 25, 2009

******In reaction to an independent BBC review on taste and standards commissioned after offensive comments about actor Andrew Sachs created a public outcry, the BBC Trust has said that the most offensive language should only be used in “exceptional circumstances” on BBC One between 9 and 10 p.m.******Editorial guidelines should clarify that BBC should not make programmes that “celebrate or condone gratuitous, aggressive, intrusive and humiliating behaviour,” the Trust ruled, recognizing that “licence fee payers can distinguish between comedy and satire, which they appreciate, and unjustified humiliation, of which they disapprove.” ******The study, which polled 2,700 participants, finds that viewers don’t want more censorship or regulation.******”Most people value the creativity of the BBC and accept it may sometimes result in people being offended.”******What do you think? Should BBC allow swearing on air?


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The BBC should make unbiased, quality programs reflecting real life, and sometimes profanity is part of real life. No censorship please.

Posted by Boss Hoss | Report as abusive

Fine with me. Swearing is a part of our language these days. They sure air much more worse things than swear words.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

No.Real talent doesn’t need swearing to attract attention.And I want quality programs for my money – not trash.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

They should allow “Swearing” (ie words that are a part of the common language, but not approved of by supporters of some minority and state-supported religions). I’m not so sure that they should allow unfunny, alleged ‘comedians’ like Russell Brand or overpaid ‘celebrities’ like Jonathan Ross on air.

Posted by Geoff Lister | Report as abusive

Swearing, like loud music, shouting and flashing images, is used by mediocre producers as a substitute for a good script and talented performers. It should have no place on the BBC except possibly in pop music programs where it appeals to the immature audience and distracts attention from the abysmal quality of the lyrics.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Swearing is not always required and [in the context of TV shows] doesn’t make anything better or worse, but at the end of the day, it does not really bother me as there are far worse things occuring than just hearing a swear word on the box.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive

You can’t practically prevent foul language upon live broadcasting, but you can moderate recorded programme so as not to corrupt our moral values. Real life but bad taste is not good copycat for children.

Posted by Miner | Report as abusive

free speach, everywhere.. cuss away, I can change the station if I want.

Posted by stan | Report as abusive

make judgements on other peoples standard not yours. If someone thinks they need to use fowl and abusive language to impress how sad are they.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Nothing wrong with swearing. If you’ve been out in the world recently you’ve heard a cuss word or two. Change the station if something offends you. Simple solutions are usually overlooked and the censors start up. Most stations tell you there is suggestive themes and other stuff before they come on. Seriously, if you don’t like something use self-censorship. Look away, plug your ears, leave, but don’t censor every little, “bad word.” Okay, I’m done.

Posted by No censors | Report as abusive

The real problem with swearing and profanity on the box is that it appears to be acceptable to use everyday. One has only to listen to schoolchildren passing the house in the afternoon on their way home.The English language has a vast vocabulary, including foul.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

The BBC should never have allowed swearing on air in the first place. Never mind whether or not people swear in real life: people take their cue from what they see and hear on the media: if we really want to reform manners then TV and radio are the places to start. Following the logic of some of the comments I have read, swearing would not be prohibited at school either, as children need to be prepared for life in the real world!

Posted by Philip Masters | Report as abusive

Swearing is totally unnecessary. Children should not be given the wrong example. TV and radio stations have a duty to keep high standards and ensure their programmes are above board. Adult-rated programmes should be shown or aired well past children’s bed-time. There are time slots and places for adult content to be shown or viewed. Children and young adolescents are certainly vulnerable and should be set the right example.

Posted by Pancha Chandra | Report as abusive

The least we can do is make a difference and leave out the swearing somewhere on this planet. We have enough different languages and dialects. Those who can speek English please keep it alive. Keep and encourage the pure English language, lest we forget it.

Posted by Bon | Report as abusive

Bad language is a sign of the times and as less and less people are educated they look for ways to express themselves. In real life situations one just walks away from this kind of exhibition of low life but sadly television can thrust this kind of garbage into the home environment of decent people and always comes as quite a shock. Abraham Lincoln once said : ” God must have loved the common people for he made so many of them”…….

Posted by Peter Schwarz | Report as abusive

Swearing is a sign of weakness.

Posted by Daisy | Report as abusive

Being afraid of foul language is a weakness. If such language is the sign of the times then, it has been so for all of recorded history. And as far as nudity, what is wrong with it.If some find such program material or artistic expression too impressionable on the young, I ask what about graphic violence and military conflicts portrayed in movies? Sheltering children from that which they are clearly not mature enough for is incumbent upon the parents, not artists broadcasters and government.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

Some of the comments above suggest offensive language should be allowed on TV because it is now commonly heard in real life. I would suggest that it is the frequent use of offensive language on TV that is the cause of it’s apparent wider use in real life. The BBC needs to rethink it’s policies. I don’t allow offensive language in my house so I don’t watch many BBC programmes. BBC should never have allowed swearing in the first place. It is totally unnecessary.

Posted by Anthony Midwinter | Report as abusive

Society is struggling to find the right balance between what it sees as personal freedom, and social control.Unfortunately one mans freedom (for instance of speech) is another mans offense. There will always be extremes at both ends. Balance is hard to achieve.Slowly however we are eroding what I would call core values.How far does that erosion go? Personally I think swearing is not required on TV, definitely not during 6am-9pm. Those families who want to raise kids to be polite should not have to be subjected to foul language during evening TV.If you want to hear swearing, go out to the pub or rent a film. There is no justification for why it is _required_ though.

Posted by R Warder | Report as abusive

no i dont see the need the bbc should get its self out of the gutter

Posted by bill | Report as abusive

There is no need for swearing on the BBC. It is only a substitute for a word the person cannot think of at the time. Swearing on the TV is getting worse, and why should I change channels, stop the swearing. Still in this day and age the BBC seem to get away with anything they want to.

Posted by D Franklin | Report as abusive

Swearing or bad language should never be used.Instead we should put our efforts into educating the great unwashed. This would give them the ability to express themselves without resorting to gutter speak.

Posted by Roy Davis | Report as abusive

Some of the views expressed in these comments about others in society (“the great unwashed”, “common people”) are far more offensive than the use of swearing, and should give more cause for concern about the state and future of our society. I’d worry less about children growing up using the f-word, and more about them growing learning from the example of Messrs Schwartz and Davis up to look down upon others.The same rules and standards should apply to all broadcasters, publicly-funded or otherwise. The 9pm watershed should be respected, but I think the most severe swearing should probably be held for after 10pm, maybe later.To Mr/Ms Franklin – the reason you should change the channels is because you have the freedom to do so, and avoid the swearing by only affecting yourself. For you to have it your way affects and restricts the freedom of all the other people, who are not offended by swearing, who want to be able to view programmes, and cannot because of you. That’s why censorship should always be reserved for the most severe, and legitimately dangerous, material.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive