How far do changes to theregulation of media reflect broader social changes?
Analyse the question: what does it mean?what needs explaining? what do I need toanswer? How far do changes to the regulation of media reflect broader social changes?
This means, by the end, I how regulation need to say how far this is alters true – a lot, a bit, not at all? Mirror,How far do changes to the copy, respondregulation of media reflect to, show broader social changes? How media is controlled by either banning content from all people (censorship) or by How society changes restricting certain content outside of the media to certain audiences (classification)
So, this essay is asking you how far youwould say that any alterations to the waymedia is controlled is linked to biggerchanges that are taking place in thewider world beyond the media.
PLAN:What would the main sections of your essaybe? 1. Introduction 2. Do changes to film regulation link to changes in society? 3. Do changes in internet regulation link to changes in society? 4. Do changes ever not reflect social change? 5. Reflection – how far does change in regulation seem to link to change in society and is this a good or a bad thing? 6. Conclusion
INTRODUCTION:What would you include?• Explain what media regulation is• Explain what the question is asking you about regulation in your own words• Identify the two media that you will use to answer this question
PART 1: DOES FILM REGULATION CHANGEOVER TIME AND CAN THIS BE LINKED TOCHANGES IN SOCIETY?What sort of ideas and evidence canyou think of that might fit in here?
PART 1: DOES FILM REGULATION CHANGEOVER TIME AND CAN THIS BE LINKED TOCHANGES IN SOCIETY?• The criteria used have shifted to reflect the moral standards of the time e.g. T P O’Connor’s 43 Reasons for Deletion v BBFC’s current standards (add specific examples) e.g. the banning of Potemkin in the 30s reflected fears then about communism and revolution. The strictness of films in the 50s over depictions of ‘unruly’ teen behaviour (which films?) reflected contemporary moral panic over teens, just as the introduction of the VRA in 1984 reflected the then moral panic over video nasties and their potentially negative impact on children; a more recent moral panic? Concerns over overtly sexual material – Black Swan? Banning of The Bunny Game and Grotesque…..
• The way a film is assessed now reflects context as well as content, as society has become more aware of being fair to all parties, audiences and film-makers (equality and diversity) e.g. the way films like Team America, Tormented and The King’s Speech have been given a lower rating than maybe expected due to context (offer specific examples). In the past the approach was much more rigid and inflexible.• there has been a shift in approach from censorship to classification to reflect changes of perception that audiences are more active than passive e.g. offer some evidence for this?
• the composition of the decision-making body (the BBFC) has altered, as we have become a society that is trying to become more egalitarian and less dominated by an aristocratic elite e.g. how has it altered? How is this a good thing and what might it prevent?• The openness of the regulation process has altered: E.g. how is the process now more transparent and how does this reflect changes in society?• The platforms/ technologies the BBFC now regulate for has altered e.g. what new technologies does the BBFC cater for and how are these regulated by the BBFC?
PART 2: DOES INTERNET REGULATIONCHANGE OVER TIME AND CAN THIS BELINKED TO CHANGES IN SOCIETY? What sort of ideas and evidence can you think of that might fit in here?
PART 2: DOES INTERNET REGULATIONCHANGE OVER TIME AND CAN THIS BELINKED TO CHANGES IN SOCIETY?• This is harder to evaluate as it is still a relatively new media – only really taken off since the mid-80s. However, it is still possible to see some correlation between attempts to regulate the Net and social change/ concerns.
• We can see that the focus of new initiatives clearly reflects areas of current concern in the world outside the media: e.g. the CEOP panic button reflects concerns in society about paedophilia, grooming, trolling and cyberbullying (resulting in death/ suicide/ emotional upset) e.g. calls for SNS like YouTube to adopt tighter controls reflects concerns about real life harm e.g. planking/ car surfing deaths e.g. the work of police units like SOCA and PCeU to combat the ‘dark web’ (sale of guns/ drugs/ false passports etc) e.g. laws like the DEA reflect growing concern in society about intellectual property theft e.g. calls for ISPs to block access to pornography reflects a heightened concern at how easy it is to access this and potential harm to children.
• there has been a shift from no official regulation to more official regulation, as the usership has grown and the Net has been used for more and more purposes. Regulation has changed to reflect changes in the way society uses the medium: E.g. what was the Net’s original form and why did this need virtually no regulation? What more formal regulation do we now have for the internet? e.g. some countries have adopted a very strict regulatory approach – can you name one or two and comment on how they control the Net and why
There has been a shift from more traditional top-downregulation to a more bottom-up individual self-regulationapproach, as society realises that the Net cannot beregulated 100% and people need to play their own partin keeping themselves protected online. This alsoacknowledges that audiences are more active thanpassive:e.g. what approaches have been initiated that allow/ encouragethe user to regulate for themselves or for their families/ those theyare responsible for?
It could be worth noting recent initiatives suggestthe government are starting to take a moreinterventionist role – ISPs to block porn, unless usermakes a positive request for porn, the imposition ofthe DEA and attempts in the USA with SOPA andPIPA, a proposed bill to make ISPs store email andtexts and allow government access…. May reflecta political change in society from previous laissez-faire attitude to the Internet to a more paternalisticapproach?
PART 3: ANY WAY REGULATION DOES NOTREFLECT SOCIETY?If something reflects society, this suggests thatit copies or responds to something that hasalready happened.However, can regulation change without asocietal change initiating it?I can’t think of any instances of regulationchanging totally without a link to society...Maybe because any change has to bejustified.
However, can changes be made toregulation to try and initiate change insociety rather than to reflect it – to cause itrather than to reflect and respond to it.• some of the BBFC decisions on language in Sweet 16? Trying to enforce certain standards/ views on suitable and unsuitable language?• BBFC banning films seeking to enforce views about moral suitability of certain things?• China seeking to censor the Internet to try and enforce certain political views• the DEA and ACTA – trying to alter how people obtain music and films online
Does this work?• Not usually – people often find ways roundthis, if it is not what they agree with – at thevery least, they reluctant to comply.
PART 4: REFLECTIONDoes regulation reflect society?Yes – it does seem to – seems to be quite astrong link between what is happening insociety – changes to regulation often reflectbroader social changes e.g. changes inattitudes, moral values, politics, technology,views about the nature of media influence,moral panics and perceived threats…..
Is this a good or bad thing for regulationthat it responds to social change?GOOD:If it reflects a majority change – pluralist modelof society says that changes should reflect themajority view – society is democratic. It’s whatthe people want.This makes regulation a flexible tool that canalter to remain relevant and to retain thepublic’s support.It can alter quickly to respond to protect peoplefrom current moral scares, leading to a sense ofsecurity which is what the public want – to feelsafe.
BAD:Not so good if changes in regulation do not followchanges in society but, instead seeks to drive or imposechange from the top down – hegemonic model ofsociety. This can be seen, to some extent, in how Chinahas sought to regulate the Net and Egypt, briefly, duringthe Arab Spring. It can also be seen possibly in the waythe BBFC have sough to impose ideas about language inSweet Sixteen?However, if regulation is imposed and not wanted/deemed necessary by the people, such regulations areoften got around – Chinese people could accessforbidden information via proxies, YouTube ageverification can easily be got around…..So, on balance, the fact regulation changes to mirrorsocial change is probably a good thing.
CONCLUSION:A straight forward summing up – offer ananswer to the question – how far do changesin regulation of the media reflect changes tosociety?
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