New Internationalist

Factfile On… Television

Issue 326

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factfile on...
Television

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'The most powerful weapon in the world.'
Australian TV Executives
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Television is dominated by three worldwide mega-corporations:
Time Warner; News Corporation/Fox Networks; Disney.

[image, unknown] BOX WATCHERS
In the US 98 per cent of households have at least one television (although Taiwan tops the bill with 99.4 per cent and Mexico manufactures more sets than any other country).3 A recent study showed that six out of ten British and New Zealand citizens watch TV for more than two hours a day. This puts them at the top of the list. The US and Canada weigh in at four out of ten. The study also concluded that there was a link between watching a lot of TV and low levels of literacy.4

KIDS AND THE TUBE3
There have been lots of debates about whether TV-watching is bad for kids . Here are a few facts from the US:

. Average number of hours per week that American youth aged 12-17 watch television: 20 hours, 20 minutes.
. Hours of TV watching per week shown to have a negative effect on academic achievement: 10 or more.
. Estimated number of TV commercials seen by American children before graduating from high school: 360,000.
. Number of violent acts the average American child sees on TV by the age of 18: 200,000.


Buyer's guide.

TV TIPS5
Health: Most mains-powered electrical devices are a source of radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Concerns have been raised about EMFs causing cancers and leukaemia, and affecting the brain, the immune system and the central nervous system.

So:
. Sit at least two metres from the screen as EMFs drop off with distance.
. Be aware that the back of TVs can give off high EMFs.
. TVs give off radiation even when switched off so when not in use switch off at the mains, especially in the bedroom.

Environment:
. Always buy second-hand or recycled TVs and videos where possible.
. If yours is broken get it repaired rather than buying a new one.
. If you are getting rid of your old TV check about recycling it (25 million sets are dumped every year in the UK alone).
. To save power, switch off the TV when you are not watching instead of using standby (TVs in standby mode waste millions of dollars of electricity every year).
. To save resources use smaller sets and LCD screens.
. Every year 22 April is TV Turnoff day.
Contact: Adbusters on www.adbusters.org and turn it off!

Sources:
1 Human Development Report 1999 (UNDP)
2
World Development Report (1998/99)
3
AC Nielsen (1998) from Adbusters website: www.adbusters.org
4
Literacy in the Age of Information, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris 2000
5
Ethical Consumer.


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