Acceptability of words in broadcasting

What Not to Swear: The Acceptability of Words in Broadcasting 2013 published by the Broadcasting Standards Authority PDF

Acceptability of words – quick summary PDF

This research was commissioned by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). It uses research into community attitudes as one of the ways to determine community norms

The report documents the findings of a national survey carried out in March 2013 among 1,500 members of the general public aged 18 years and over. The survey measured how acceptable the public finds the use of swearwords, blasphemies and other expletives in broadcasting. This survey was first conducted in 1999 and repeated in 2005 and 2009. Where possible, comparisons have been made with previous surveys to help determine whether public attitudes are changing over time.

The ASA has had no involvement in this research but is grateful to be able to use the list measuring the acceptability of words during broadcast programmes. The Complaints and Appeal Boards take the rating of these words as indicative of the community views about their use when these or similar words feature in advertising.

Click here to view the report on the BSA website. Please note the research contains offensive language.