Is censorship a good or bad idea?
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Is censorship a good or bad idea?

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Is censorship a good or bad idea? Is censorship a good or bad idea? Document Transcript

  • Task 4 - Is censorship a good or bad idea? Censorship has widely dictated the media industry; whether it’s been debated by society, or helped prevent explicit materials in media products. The dictionary definition of censorship states that: “Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body”. This topic is very controversial and is a key area that can sometimes come under scrutiny from all walks of society. Censorship is a good idea because it prevents young children viewing explicit material that they may be too young to view. This maybe in terms of internet censorship, as well as print, broadcast and digital media forms. These various censorships allow children to be protected from this harmful content, while enabling their parents to not worry about the graphic products their child could potentially be consuming. Censorships must be in place because at such a young age, young children may not be in control of their own actions, or in terms of media, thoughts. Should content be banned for young consumers? Should they be exercising their human right to view all content? On the other hand, young children can be still responsible, to a certain extent, what they consume in terms of media. This doesn’t mean censorship should be removed altogether; however, censorship could maybe be relaxed because the censorship on films, the internet and wider society, is preventing the human rights of most young consumers. In terms of film censorship, it is in place to ensure people who are below the required age cannot view products that have been deemed too harmful or explicit to be shared with this young audience. Therefore, a law or procedure that protects a certain demographic has to be a good one. An example to back up this point of view is the James Bulger case. This is a relevant example because the film, Childs play 3, was the main talking point in this case,
  • which was rated an 18. The outline of the story states that two ten year olds, Robert Thompson and John Venables viewed this particular ‘video nasty’ before committing the murder of 3 year old James Bulger. This is therefore a strong case in support of why films should be heavily certified in terms of age, which, in turn, is a form of censorship. However, young adults of 16 and 17 that are near the 18 rated film brackets may find that the censorship is too harsh. These 16 and 17 year olds may wish to consume these films and feel nothing in the product will be branded ‘harmful’ by them. In this case, censorship will be a bad idea and one that may and should be changed. Should films have the strict age ratings or just guidelines?
  • No one type of media should be censored especially. This is because explicit material is available on all the media platforms, therefore, making it difficult to just censor one of the three platforms. Over the years, broadcast products like Saw, Titanic and 2012 have all been banned from various countries. In terms of the print platform, D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Peter Wright’s Spycatcher were banned from the UK over the years. One of them for an explicit portrayal of cross-class romance and the other for revealing secrets, due to the author been a former MI5 officer. The last form, digital, has had many banned sites such as The Pirate Bay, which was a file sharing site. This particular media platform is so vast that to try and find every single site to block will be a difficult task. All these examples support the claim that not one media platform should be heavily censored compared to the others. I Media products that were banned/censored out by the Governments of various countries. Should a certain platform be censored rather than them all? n comparison, the broadcast and digital platforms should be censored more heavily than the print one. This is due to the new technological age making print products less popular and the other two more so. This would therefore mean younger children would be able to view more explicit content, or accidently find themselves consuming this kind of content on a digital or broadcast platform, rather than a print one. Libraries in the UK don’t currently censor the books they put on the shelves. Censorship on books in these establishments needs to be in place. This is because libraries have sections for different kinds of genre, but don’t have anything in place to prevent children from reading any other genre within the library. This, as stated in the censorship definition, is harmful to the child. Previously mentioned Lady Chatterley’s lover is further evidence that libraries should carry out censorship of what they put on their shelves. On the other hand, children have freedom to knowledge, as Sager states in 1997. Libraries should continue not censoring content from libraries because by not doing so, the minds of the future generations are getting developed. In terms of adult’s intellect, by not censoring material, adults can also extend their knowledge. Censorship isn’t harmful; it protects all kinds of people from causing and receiving harm. It protects children from viewing explicit content, it protects people from information been
  • made public about them, it prevents warfare, while having many other functions beside. An example of where censorship/gagging orders protect people is the Ryan Giggs super injunction. This court order allowed harmful information to be contained between the parties involved. However, in this case, the censorship wasn’t enough for the information to be leaked, which wasn’t due to the flaw of the censorship, more of the interest of the public that grew. The story surfaced due to public pressure and interest of the public, not because of the censorship/gagging order been flawed. Although, censorship can be harmful towards groups and individuals. The innocent party isn’t always the one that gets censorship on content; the guilty member in the wrong sometimes gets it. This leads to harm to the innocent or oppressed in terms of mental harm caused by the content that was censored and the fact they can’t discuss any facts of it. An example of this would be the gagging order Andrew Marr took out against a fellow journalist, regarding an affair. There would be no innocent party in most cases, however, he got the injunction in 2008 and by the time it broke to the public in 2011, his family were aware of the fact. This therefore concurs that the innocent party was in fact Andrew Marr’s family, which, I’m sure, but never revealed, was harmful regarding themselves. The injunction was harmful to Andrew Marr’s family in this case.
  • We have high censorship on video games and films, while we don’t on books for a number of different reasons. One of those reasons is because books and print products have been around for a lot longer than video games and films, which means the laws on them will also be from a long time ago. Another reason can be put down to the physical image of a product, which affects the mind more than a written form. Censorship should be the same for all these three media products because they contain similar, or the same explicit material. This includes when films are adapted from books or vice versa, it’s the same story but one version is censored, whereas the other one is free from censorship. Like the idea from before, books should be subject to censorship because of the same content present in them compared to broadcast platforms of media. A good example of this would be the Harry Potter series. This film collection was adapted from books, which has some content that wasn’t included in the films, some of which was due to film censorship, which, as we know, print products are free from. Should print products be subject to censorship like films, especially if the films were adapted from books? Censorship shouldn’t be the same for books as films and video games because they don’t promote the same violent or harmful ideas that the other two do. The material available on films and videos and games affects people’s minds due to the physical product, which, in essence, is showing them how to carry out these acts. The Denver shooting case explains the point well. James Holmes, a resident of the area, had dressed like The Joker from The Batman film franchise and carried out a massacre at a cinema in Denver. This proves that the effect of a film and the actions of the characters resulted in a change in behaviour of an individual. The same can’t be said for a print product, which has never led to a mass tragedy of note.
  • In this case, a film may have been a reason for the events that occurred in Denver in July 2012 Age restrictions on films and video games, compared to books is also a talking point. The same can be said here as for high censorship on the same products, the physical product harms people more than the written form. Age restrictions are in place because they help people younger than the restrictions stay harm free from such explicit content. However, children won’t be harmed by the written words because they are not subjected to see the actions of violence or otherwise. However, books still contain the same graphic content in them and could and should be censored. If people are constantly viewing these products, regardless of the platform, it will cause the individual harm. For example, this book, unlike Harry potter, is adapted from the film. From this you should be able to deduce that the book should be treated the same as the film in terms of censorship, instead, the censored parts of the film are still present in the print based product. In terms of video games, adaptations of books are changed to fit a video game specification. The same is said for this product compared to films; the content is censored and has age restrictions, whereas the raw, unchanged book is the original and has no age restrictions whatsoever, this is why age restrictions should be added to books. Video games like Lord of the rings have to be stripped down and censored to fit the age demographic, whereas books don’t have to do this. Plus, due to no age restrictions, people younger than the required video game age can read the print product that is much more graphic and harmful freely. ? The book in question, should it be treated the same as films and video games? Should books be subject to the same age restrictions as video games and films? The content in both are similar so you would think so.
  • At the moment, the government is mainly in command of censorship across the UK. Even though media producers still have a say in their media products and the censorship, if the government wants it altered or banned, the media producer must oblige. Censorship rights should still be controlled by the government because they are in charge of the public’s wellbeing in everyday life, including media. Therefore they will know if a product could be harmful or viewed as insensitive to a certain percentage, if not the whole of society. Some examples of products that have been banned in the UK are below and further the argument that the government should regulate censorship in terms of media products. A handful of products that have been banned by the UK Government in past years: Manhunt 2 (2009) –The uncut version was banned for excessive violence; the game had to be censored to fit the requirements. Carmageddon (1997)–The first version of it featured humans as the victims of graphic violence. The producer got round it by replacing humans with zombies. Spycatcher (1985) – Had to be cut because it revealed secrets of MI5, due to Peter Wright been an assistant director of the secret organisation. Ulysses (1922) – It was banned for sexual content in the UK, this kind hadn’t been seen much previously and a copy wasn’t available until 1930. The Well of loneliness (1928) – Banned by the UK government for having lesbian themes. At this time, sexual orientation was far from equal. The book was then republished in 1949. However, the creator of the initial product should have more say in the matter and should replace the government in the decision to alter or censor a product. This is due to the person who actually produced the product, intended it to be however graphic or explicit it ended up. This should then be communicated to the audience in its raw/unedited form, to get the full effect of the product. An example where no government intervention has still led to a film been altered and censored by the media producer is A clockwork orange. Stanley Kubrick, the director of the film, cut 30 seconds of sexual content out of the US
  • version to get the film from an X rated to an R rated movie. This honesty and self-censorship from the director cements the claim that the media producers should replace the government in decisions regarding censorship of media products. A clockwork orange, censored by Stanley Kubrick. Should more directors decide on doing this instead of the government? Ideas in the classroom help generate response from students and aid the development of their education. The idea that some ideas shouldn’t be viewed/voiced in the classroom has been long debated by politicians, educational bodies and even media outlets. A line must been drawn somewhere of course, negative ideas and such should not be discussed, as agreed by all involved; however, the line is different for individual groups it seems. Ideas shouldn’t be banned in the classroom because different people’s views and ideas can help shape and decide on your own set of ideologies. As long as the views and ideas expressed are a true representation of what’s happening and it isn’t negatively affecting an individual young person’s mind set then no idea should be banned from a classroom. However, ideas found in a primary school won’t be the ideas that are going round in a secondary/high school, so they must be altered and edited to be more age appropriate if all ideas are been expressed in classrooms. Another reason why ideas shouldn’t be banned from the classroom is one already discussed, which is: “children have freedom to knowledge” Sagen(1997). The two points together helps to explain why ideas cannot and should not be hidden from children within schools and classrooms. In comparison, some ideas should be banned from classrooms because some confuse and pollute the minds of young people. Curriculum for Key stage one primary school student’s states that war as a topic must be taught. Obviously some content must be censored, but should the whole unit be discussed or should it be censored? The topic that is been taught could be a bit harmful or sensitive to young people. In addition, as the dictionary definition states, censorship is “the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body”.
  • Should some ideas be removed out of the classroom or even censored? Can you prevent knowledge from students? Gagging orders are a legal order made by court, which restricts and conceals information been made public by any of the parties involved within the said subject. Gagging orders should be granted to people because some information that could be leaked to the public may be harmful or may damage someone’s image and reputation. Another reason why a gagging order should be handed out is the fact that it might be more beneficial to all parties if a gagging order is taken out. A high profile example of a gagging order is that of world number 1 golfer Tiger Woods. He won an injunction/gagging order to prevent newspapers publishing stories about his private life. The reports before the injunction wrecked his image to start with, but his reputation could have taken even more of a hit if British media would have been allowed to report on his affair. Tiger Woods was granted an injunction on the British media reporting on his private life, should this happen or should the accused be analysed? Gagging orders shouldn’t be granted because, like stated before, the victim may get a gagging order against them, not the individual in the wrong. This puts the victim in a very vulnerable and threatened state, which they shouldn’t have been put in to start with. Another reason why gagging orders shouldn’t be granted is because normal members of the public have to deal with information, both true and false, been said about them. Should celebrities be treated any different from the rest? You may argue that the average person won’t have every media outlet reporting about them, but if celebs feel the need for a gagging order, they must have done something that is worth hiding, which, in most cases, is negative. An example of where a gagging order wasn’t granted but if granted, the victim would have been silenced was the John Terry ‘injunction’. This involved a story of John Terry sleeping with team-mate, Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. Terry tried to get a gagging order on the media and those involved, but instead, it backfired and was one of the biggest sporting
  • controversies of that year. If this said gagging order would have gone through, Wayne Bridge, the victim, would have to bide his silence and would be prevented from telling the events of the story. This is therefore why gagging orders shouldn’t be granted, innocent people are kept in the dark, when they should be the ones who are unmasking the accused. John Terry didn’t get an injunction granted, should he be allowed to? And if yes, why should he be treated differently to the rest of society? The media effects theory involves how media products impact on society and also how society impacts the media as a whole. This theory also incorporates how exposure of a certain product can impact on the view of the consumer. The media effects theory also helps to explain moral panics, which is the feeling a scenario is out of control and therefore presents a threat to the moral hierarchy. A good example to help explain both parts of this theory is the previously mentioned Childs play 3. As established already, the two ten year old boys who killed three year old James Bulger in Liverpool, were exposed to this media product, which was then adjudged to have impacted them to commit this murder. However, the part after the death lead to moral panics to the certain 'video nasty' that had allegedly caused this crime. Due to this moral panic, the government had to act, banning the product from shops and rental places, while the public got rid of their copies. The outcome had stemmed all the way from a moral panic and therefore the media effects theory, which therefore shows that media does have an effect on people and their views/actions. The front of a newspaper that instructs people to burn the VHS that was causing the widespread moral panic.
  • Advertising is a big part of the consumerist society we live in today. Without them, we wouldn't be aware of new products, and due to new products coming from somewhere, revenue would be down to a new low. Advertising can be broadcast over all three media platforms, have many shapes or forms, from leaflets to moving image pieces, advertising is everywhere. We are influenced by advertising because it helps us or entices it to buy certain products. Without even noticing, we consume and subconsciously purchase items that we have seen advertised in the products we consume, which includes magazines, television or websites. An example that helps support this argument is the beer brand, Guinness. In 1999 they produced an advertisement that depicted horses surfing waves, which years later was voted number one in top adverts of all time. In the particular year that the advert was produced, Guinness's sales were up by nearly 6% from the previous year. This just goes to show the power of advertising and the effect it could have on the consumer. This commercial rose sales of Guinness by almost 6%, does advertising really boost sales and affect the advert consumer that much? However, as an audience, I don't think we are affected by advertisement as much as first thought. Although it is a big part of sales and revenue, advertisement doesn't set companies sales in stone and the passive nature of consumers is looked at, while the theory of active audiences is overlooked. This passive audience is more likely to purchase products because of the adverts, while active audiences at least weigh up the option and actually look at the product before making their mind up. An example of where advertising hasn't affected a company is Rolls-Royce. This luxury car firm doesn't rely on adverts for revenue, instead relying on the reputation of the company and its products. You would think this has resulted in a loss in profits, however, in 2012; Rolls-Royce beat a 107 year old record sale of cars in a year. This is evidence that companies don't need advertising to still generate huge profit and revenue and therefore shows audiences aren't affected by adverts and aren't as passive as first thought.
  • Rolls-Royce don't advertise their products, instead relying on their good name and products to generate profit. Is this a good way to go about things or would they make even more if they did advertise? Advertising aimed at children is very censored and like many other adverts, highly effective in the selling of products. Junk food advertisements have been cut down in previous years, replaced by healthy advertisements. I think adverts for children should be banned because a young mind is maybe one that can't make a decision for themselves yet, therefore, exploiting the children to buy products, if not get their parents to buy the products. Another reason why we should ban advertising aimed at children is because the products featured on the adverts maybe harmful toward the consumer, therefore coming under the description of what censorship prevents. Junk food adverts have been cut to a certain extent, but corporations are still getting away with the legislations by putting healthy food on the adverts, but not discouraging the consumption of the fattening food by any means. An example of an advert that is advertised to all audiences but shown in between children's shows a lot is the McDonalds advert. This depicts unhealthy food as good and desirable, which will entice the consumer, in this case children. As mentioned earlier, these adverts will affect children more because of the decision making process been a lot lower in children, which, in essence, means they are more passive to the advertising and therefore more likely to purchase these products. Should adverts by these companies be shown to young viewers? Should adverts be shown to children at all?
  • On the other hand, without advertisement in between children's programmes, companies will struggle and the economic disadvantage it will have on them will be catastrophic, not to mention to the worlds economy also. Another reason why it's a bad idea to not show adverts to children is that the channels are required to show something in between programmes, without showing adverts, a tough task will be formed to find a replacement for advertisements. In conclusion, it can be agreed that there are many advantages and disadvantages to censorship. Without it, people would be subject to viewing explicit material, but with it, we risk harming people by keeping information secret from one another. In my opinion, censorship is a good idea; it keeps harmful and sensitive products frozen out and allows consumers to view products without the constant fear of seeing something corruptive. However, I don't agree with certain aspects of censorship such as celebrities getting gagging orders. These legal court orders allow people, sometimes, people in the wrong, the protection to keep bad information from them out of the press. However, in some cases gagging orders are necessary, which I believe should be reserved for exceptional circumstances.