Britain's broadcasters face increasing government pressure to curb violence on the television screen, and cuts have already been ordered in programs. Douglas Hurd, the Home Secretary, in a detailed follow-up to a condemnation of TV violence by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told program- makers on all four British television channels to put their houses in order. He warned that if they did not voluntarily move to keep violence and explicit sex off TV he was prepared to support legislation requiring them to do so. Violent crime on the rise
Mr. Hurd's entrance into the growing debate on how TV violence affects the behavior of citizens comes at a time of increasing public concern about violent crime. The past year saw rioting in major British cities, unruly behaviour by football crowds, and a rise in street crimes.
Mrs. Thatcher has heavily stressed the need for more intensive efforts to create law and order in Britain. She has said she is worried about the effects of violent TV programs on young people, though researchers are doubtful whether a specific link between screen violence and crime can be established.
Hurd, who is considered liberal-minded, shares the Prime Minister's concern about the rising tide of violence in Britain and its possible connection with TV programs. `Rambo' showing canceled
Under pressure from viewers' associations, the British Broadcasting Corporation has decided not to screen the film ``Rambo'' over the Christmas period, when millions of young viewers would have been able to watch it. A commercial channel decided not to screen an animal film made in dubious taste shortly before the Queen was due to give her annual Christmas telecast.
Winston Churchill, grandson of the former Prime Minister, speaks for a growing minority of Conservatives when he advocates extension of the Obscene Publications Act, which deals mainly with books and magazines, to films and television. Hurd said he had sympathy with Mr. Churchill's point of view and they had discussed the problem together.
The Home Secretary called for a coalition of parents, teachers, and the churches to fight against crime.
The Thatcher government's opponents claim that the Prime Minister and her supporters are placing false emphasis on the problem of violence in Britain, hoping to make it a deciding issue at the next general election.