'CSI', 'Friends' criticised for use of profanity

LOS ANGELES: There is too much damn cursing on American television these days! Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) may be drawing women towards AXN in India but in the US the CBS show has drawn the ire of The Parents Television Council (PTC) on account of the foul language used.

The PTC released a report expressing concern over the use of bad language in television. It noted that from 1998-2002 the use of bad language increased especially in the 8-9 pm band which is when the family gets together in front of the idiot box. Foul language jumped by 94 per cent in this slot. While foul language rose 109 per cent between 9-10 pm it is surprising that the increase was just 38 per cent between 10-11 pm when the kids have gone to sleep.

The PTC's top ten worst list saw CSI come out on top. Another AXN show NBC's Fear Factor was also criticised. Comedies did not escape the firing line with Friends and Will And Grace being cited. Both air in India on Zee English while the former also airs on Star World.

In its report the FTC has stated "The broadcast networks have made little or no effort to curb foul language during the prime time hours in the last five years. During the 2002-2003 season, the broadcast networks attempted to rewrite the book on language standards for television. While there were qualitative minor improvements here and there, overwhelmingly foul language became coarser and more frequent over time across the broadcast networks, and unless checked, we can surely expect this trend to continue well into the future."

There was good news for Rupert Murdoch's Fox. The network was singled out as being the only network with a drop in bad language between 1998 and 2002, although offensive language across ABC's offerings dropped in the final two hours of primetime. On the flip side PTC said that more and harsher language was heard during ABC's 8-9 p.m. time slots. CBS, NBC, UPN and the WB went up by triple digits in various time slots.

On a more positive note Sue Thomas F.B. Eye which airs on Hallmark received good mention for not using profane dialogue. Another show that was praised was the WB Network's Smallville. This will shortly commence airing on Star World.

Meanwhile Syracuse University professor Robert Thompson was quoted in an AP report saying, "Once prime-time television decides to absorb something, it becomes a stamp of normalcy. It's no longer controversial. It's no longer a big deal. It makes it a casual, accepted sort of thing".

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