A researcher is calling for curbs on taxpayer funding of music videos that contain violence after his group found "high levels" of violence in the music videos shown on TV.
Associate Professor Nick Wilson and colleagues at Otago University recorded two weeks of the Juice TV music channel in 2010 and found that 24 per cent of the 353 individual videos portrayed violence.
He said the video of the Eminem/Rihanna hit Love the Way You Lie is a good example of the themes the researchers were concerned about: "It has violence, sexuality and alcohol - all mixed in together."
In today's New Zealand Medical Journal they say: "We found that by including violence, weapons, antisocial behaviour, death themes, suicidal behaviour and Goth culture themes, 39 per cent of videos watched had at least one of such themes (average of 1.6 such themes).
"These high levels of violence in music videos are despite the fact that they were broadcast during a time that adolescents are most likely to be watching.
"There is evidence - albeit not fully conclusive - that exposure to violence in the media contributes to violent behaviour in children and adolescents."
The researchers found that 15 per cent of videos in which a New Zealander was the main artist contained violence, significantly lower than for non-New Zealand artists, 27 per cent.
Dr Wilson said things that could be done to reduce the level of violence - apart from stricter censorship - include educating artists about their responsibilities to society.
"There are trade-offs with artistic freedom, but do artists have some responsibility that could be discussed with them. At the youth level there's media education so kids can think more about what they are watching."
New Zealand On Air said: " ... We fund a music video to promote a song. Just as there are a wide range of genres of music and audience tastes, there will be a range of types of content in music videos ... while we are forbidden from having any editorial control of content ... we do stipulate in our music video contracts that a video must not breach Broadcasting Standards."
Sky TV, on whose platform Juice is broadcast, said children could be prevented from watching channels by using the parental-lock feature.
Violence in music videos
All music videos recorded from Juice channel in 2010 for two weeks
• 353 individual music videos
• 24% portrayed violence
• 13% weapons
• 9% Death themes
• 4% Suicidal behaviour
• 3% Goth culture themes