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Legal Drug Content in Music Video Programs Shown on Australian Television on Saturday Mornings

Rebecca Johnson, Emma Croager, Iain S Pratt, Natalie Khoo
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/ags102 ags102 First published online: 7 September 2012


Aims: To examine the extent to which legal drug references (alcohol and tobacco) are present in the music video clips shown on two music video programs broadcast in Australia on Saturday mornings. Further, to examine the music genres in which the references appeared and the dominant messages associated with the references. Methods: Music video clips shown on the music video programs ‘Rage (ABC TV) and [V] ‘Music Video Chart’ (Channel [V]) were viewed over 8 weeks from August 2011 to October 2011 and the number of clips containing verbal and/or visual drug references in each program was counted. The songs were classified by genre and the dominant messages associated with drug references were also classified and analysed. Results: A considerable proportion of music videos (approximately one-third) contained drug references. Alcohol featured in 95% of the music videos that contained drug references. References to alcohol generally associated it with fun and humour, and alcohol and tobacco were both overwhelmingly presented in contexts that encouraged, rather than discouraged, their use. Conclusion: In Australia, Saturday morning is generally considered a children's television viewing timeslot, and several broadcaster Codes of Practice dictate that programs shown on Saturday mornings must be appropriate for viewing by audiences of all ages. Despite this, our findings show that music video programs aired on Saturday mornings contain a considerable level of drug-related content.

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