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From the editor's desk 8 September

The War Cry comments on violence in the media

We can become so used to seeing shocking scenes

FOR many years one insurance company’s advertising slogan was: ‘We won’t make a drama out of a crisis.’ But where insurance companies may wish to avoid real-life dramas, TV and film producers are more than keen on them.

This year has brought the release of films such as Darkest Hour, which retold the story of Winston Churchill becoming prime minister during the Second World War, and The 15:17 to Paris, which portrayed how three tourists foiled a terrorist attack on a train in 2015.

Many television programmes have also dramatised real-life events, including last Monday’s Mother’s Day, which was based on the IRA bomb attacks in Warrington in 1993. Viewers may well have been shocked during the early scenes that were set in the streets where the bombs went off. The drama depicted a dazed and confused Tim Parry, who died as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Tim’s mother, Wendy, could hardly bear to watch the programme, as she tells us in this week’s War Cry. But she hopes that Mother’s Day will inspire people and give them hope that good can come from appalling situations.

However, as the viewing public, we need to make sure that in all such dramas, we see the underlying message and not just the violence. It is important that we do so, because we can become so used to seeing shocking scenes – whether in dramas or in the gritty real world of our news bulletins – that they no longer shock us.

Last year, a study by the Media Awareness Network said that children who were exposed to repeated television violence can become desensitised to violence generally and are more likely to develop aggressive behaviour.

It is not only children, though, who can be affected. It is possible for adults to witness so much violence on the small screen that it becomes an accepted norm – and that would be an unwelcome watershed.

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