Home & Away date rape episode 'inappropriate'

HOME AND AWAY ACTRESS: Terri Haddy who plays schoolgirl Rosie  Prichard in the Australian soap.
HOME AND AWAY ACTRESS: Terri Haddy who plays schoolgirl Rosie Prichard in the Australian soap.

TV3 may have lost the rights to Home and Away, but not before it screened a date-rape episode deemed inappropriate by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

The BSA has upheld a complaint against the episode of the Australian soap opera which involved the date rape of a teenage girl.

The complainant said that themes of rape and HIV were inappropriate in a G-rated programme and breached the standard of responsible programming.

The episode was classified G and broadcast at 5.30pm in April this year.

The BSA upheld the complaint, saying that the storyline went beyond what was acceptable in a G-rated programme broadcast at that time.

"By its very nature, the concept of rape, and specifically the combination of sex and violence, is highly disturbing, likely to cause alarm and distress for viewers of all ages and therefore unsuitable for children and inconsistent with the G classification."

The BSA also noted that the violence standard states that programmes in which rape and sexual violence are a theme should be treated with care and should be preceded by a warning.

"No warning preceded this episode of Home and Away so had the violence standard been raised in this case, that would also have been breached in our view.

"We are not making a finding that the episode should not have been broadcast at all. The episode could have screened without breaching standards if it had been correctly classified and adhered to the time-bands in the code [Free-to-Air Television Code]."

The BSA decided not to impose a penalty on the broadcaster. It took into account that TV3 accepted that the decision draws a clear line in terms of the type of themes and content that is acceptable for broadcast in G-rated programmes.

"In our view, rather than imposing a penalty, it is more useful to engage in constructive dialogue about what is expected.

"We are satisfied that publication of this decision will provide guidance for TV3 and other broadcasters about the authority's expectations of G-rated programmes broadcast during children's viewing times."

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