CENSORSHIP: The effect of whatever is being published – the need
to cut a certain clip or scene out
REGULATION: Rules of what is right or wrong – assessing whether
it meets the rules
What is censored/regulated in media products:
- Horrific Events/gore
- Imitable Techniques
- Racial Issues
- Sexual Violence
As the power of the medium of moving pictures skyrocketed, a number of scandals rocked Hollywood
during the 1920’s
The code was enforced in 1934, however ended in 1967 due to the revolving society – people were
pushing the boundaries and the code was no longer relevant as the 1950’s was the revolution of the T.V.
In 1968 the code was replaced by a rating system; G – for general audience, MPG – All ages admitted
by parental guidance suggested, R – no one under 16 admitted
However, the code did not apply to foreign films and the focus of the code was taken off movies
during the revolution of the television in the 1950’s
A 'U' film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over and should be set within a positive moral
framework, offering reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror. The Consumer Advice will indicate
whether the product is suitable for pre-school children.
Context of Certificate Universal:
- Discrimination: No discriminatory language or behaviour unless clearly disapproved of.
- Drugs: No references to illegal drugs or drug misuse unless they are infrequent and innocuous, or there is a clear
educational purpose or anti-drug message suitable for young children.
- Horror: Scary sequences should be mild, brief and unlikely to cause undue anxiety to young children. the outcome
should be reassuring.
- Imitable Behaviour: No potentially dangerous behaviour which young children are likely to copy. No emphasis on
realistic or easily accessibly weapons.
- Language: Infrequent use only of very mild bad language.
- Nudity: Occasional natural nudity, with no sexual context.
- Sex: Mild sexual behaviour (for example, kissing) and references only (for example, to 'making love').
- Theme: While problematic themes may be present, their treatment must be sensitive and appropriate for young
- Violence: Mild violence only. Occasional mild threat or menace only
Parental Guidance means that the product is for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children.
The content should not disturb a child and parents are advised to consider whether the film may upset younger or more
Context of Certificate Parental Guidance:
- Discrimination: Discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly disapproved of or in an
educational or historical context. Discrimination by a character with which children can readily identify is unlikely to be
- Drugs: References to illegal drugs or drug misuse must be innocuous or carry a suitable anti-drug message.
- Horror: Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense. Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor.
- Imitable Behaviour: No detail of potentially dangerous behaviour which young children are likely to copy. No
glamorisation of realistic or easily accessibly weapons.
- Language: Mild bad language only.
- Nudity: Natural nudity, with no sexual context.
- Sex: Sexual activity may be implied, but should be discreet and infrequent. Mild sex references and innuendo only.
- Theme: Where more serious issues are featured (for example, domestic violence) nothing in their treatment should
condone unacceptable behaviour.
- Violence: Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed, if justified by its context (for example, history, comedy or
Where material is suitable, in general, for those aged 12 and over. Works classified at this level may upset children
under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. Exists only for video works - no one
younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated video.
Features of Certificate 12:
- Discrimination: discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed by the work as a whole. Aggressive
discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly condemned.
- Drugs: Any misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised or give instructional detail.
- Horror: moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not
frequent or sustained.
- Imitable Behaviour: Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail
which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free. Easily accessibly weapons should not be glamorised.
- Language: Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, 'f***') must be infrequent.
- Nudity: Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context must be brief and discreet.
- Sex: Sexual activity may be briefly, and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for
younger teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable.
- Theme: Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers.
- Violence: Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or
blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context. Sexual violence may only be implied
or briefly, and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification.
No one younger than 15 may see a '15' film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a '15' rated video
Features of Certificate 15:
- Discrimination: The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.
- Drugs: Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of
easily accessibly and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.
- Horror: Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.
- Imitable Behaviour: Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail
which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.
- Language: There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, f***). The strongest terms (for example, c***)
may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be
- Nudity: Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a
non-sexual or educational context.
- Sex: Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual
behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary
purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.
- Theme: No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.
- Violence: Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. the strongest gory images are
unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed
verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual
Suitable only for adults only. No one younger than 18 may see an '18' rated film at the cinema or rent or buy an '18'
rated video. In line with consistent findings of the BBFC's public consultations and The Human Rights Act 1998, at '18'
the BBFC's guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own
entertainment. Exceptions are most likely in the following areas:
- Where the material is in breach of the criminal law, or has been created through the commission of a criminal offence.
- Where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, society - for
example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public
health or morals. This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or
endorse sexual assault.
- Where there are more explicit images of sexual activity which cannot be justified by context. Such images may be
appropriate in 'R18' works, and in 'sex works' would normally be confined to that category.
To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults of not less than
The ‘R18’ category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex or
strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensed cinemas, and video
works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. ‘R18’ video works may not be supplied by mail order. The
following content is not acceptable:
any material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current
interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity (for example, paedophilia,
incest or rape) which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
the portrayal of any sexual activity which involves lack of consent (whether real or simulated). Any form of physical
restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated.
Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
any sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which does not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong
physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable.
Casino Royale – ‘torture of Bond’ scene:
The BBFC required the film to be cut to remove a bit from the torture scene where bond is
first sitting in the chair and has the draped over his shoulders, the removal of lingering shots
of the rope and close shots of Bond’s facial expression and a substitution of a more distant
shot of the beating – the BBFC stated, “there is no dwelling on detail or emphasis on injury”
claiming that they found these changes acceptable and were able to classify the film as a
12A.nOn the other hand, although these changes were put in place, it was still questioned
whether the classification was too low as some scenes which included violence and nudity
were still included in the film.
Human Centipede 2:
The BBFC originally banned this film on the grounds that there was too much sexual violence
and that it was on the verge of obscenity. The directors agreed to make the advised 32 cuts
before it was classified by the BBFC as a certificate 18 in 2006.
The Falling Man – 9/11 censorship:
The photograph, shown on the right gives the impression that the man is falling straight down. However, this is one in a series of
photographs of his fall, and viewed with the others it is evident that he is tumbling through the air.
The photographer has noted that, in at least two cases, newspaper stories commenting on the image have attracted a barrage
of criticism from readers who found the image "disturbing”. Regarding the social and cultural significance of The Falling Man,
theologian Mark D. Thompson of Moore Theological College says that "perhaps the most powerful image of despair at the
beginning of the twenty-first century is not found in art, or literature, or even popular music. It is found in a single photograph.“
“was bright and totalizing and some of us said it was unreal. When we say a thing is unreal, we mean it is too real, a
phenomenon so unaccountable and yet so bound to the power of objective fact that we can’t tilt it to the slant of our
The images of 9/11 (including the photo of the Falling Man) were seen as so disturbing and upsetting that they were promptly
banned from American television almost as soon as they were broadcast, and viewers in the U.S. only had access to them via
the internet and media circulations on other continents. There are two things, however, that made the image different: On the
one hand, it started an intensive (and partly excruciatingly frustrating) search for the identity of the victim which got many
people involved in the individual story.
On the other, the image seemed to possess an almost ‘aesthetic’ quality and certainly was received by many viewers as an
‘abstraction of real terror’ and thus, as a aestheticization of the attacks and their tragic effects.
Despite this censorship, “the falling man” rapidly gained a velocity of its own as a charged image, an icon
The image, its story and its cultural resonance have been turned into a film that adds a very powerful dimension to the
documentation of 9/11 since it not only follows the factual events but shows how immediately after the attacks, the sheer
violence of the experience and its resistance to representation necessitated and even enforced the creation of narratives, of
icons and of [yes!] artworks that would endow the event with meaning. Not just any meaning, to be sure, and certainly not the
meaning intended ostensibly by the terrorists.
Cinematograph Act was enforced in 1909 to help regulate media products
Harder to regulate the internet nowadays due it’s global nature etc., for
example, impartiality – differences between the UK and US, and in Sweden its not
an offence to possess what in the UK would be deemed unlawful
Has led to a move towards self – censorship/regulation
BBC guidelines for online writers: “Swearing is not big and its not clever, so avoid
it as much as possible. If it’s in a quote, always star the following, c***, f***, w***,
f******* and w*****”
Broadcasting Standards Commission (later replaced by Ofcom) even rated swear
words in 2002 – however, they rated normal swear words more offensive than
Films and increasingly video games, are still being blamed for violence in society
The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32
people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide
(another 6 people were injured escaping from classroom windows). The massacre is the deadliest shooting incident by
a single gunman in U.S. history. It was also the worst act of mass murder of college students since Syracuse University
lost 35 students in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.It is also the second-deadliest act of mass murder at a school
campus in the United States, behind the Bath School bombing of 1927.
Cho, a senior English major at Virginia Tech, had previously been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. During much
of his middle school and high school years, he received therapy and special education support. After graduating from
high school, Cho enrolled at Virginia Tech. Because of federal privacy laws, Virginia Tech was unaware of Cho's previous
diagnosis or the accommodations he had been granted at school. In 2005, Cho was accused of stalking two female
students. After an investigation, a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally ill and ordered him to attend
treatment. Lucinda Roy, a professor and former chairwoman of the English department, had also asked Cho to seek
counselling. Cho's mother also turned to her church for help.
The attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. It sparked
intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator's
state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations, privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. Television
news organizations that aired portions of the killer's multimedia manifesto were criticized by victims' families, Virginia
law enforcement officials, and the American Psychiatric Association.
The massacre prompted the state of Virginia to close legal loopholes that had previously allowed Cho, an individual
adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns without detection by the National Instant Criminal Background
Check System (NICS). It also led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years. The law
strengthening the NICS was signed by President George W. Bush on January 5, 2008.
In August 2007, the Virginia Tech Review Panel Report recommended that the state's General Assembly adopt legislation
"establishing the right of every institution of higher education to regulate the possession of firearms on campus if it so
desires" and went on to recommend campus gun bans, "unless mandated by law." The report also recommended gun
control measures unrelated to the circumstances of the massacre, such as requiring background checks for all private
firearms sales, including those at gun shows. Governor Kaine made it a priority to enact a private sale background check
law in the 2008 Virginia General Assembly, but the bill was defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Pro gun
rights parties viewed this larger move as an unwarranted expansion and as a possible prelude waypoint akin to full gun
registration for all gun sales.
The incident and its aftermath energized student activist efforts seeking to overturn bans that prevent gun holders (both
'open carry' and 'concealed carry permit' holders) from carrying their weapons on college campuses. Thirty-eight states
throughout the U.S. ban weapons at schools; sixteen of those specifically ban guns on college campuses. A new group,
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, formed after the massacre; as of March 2008, it claimed to have 16,000
members at 500 campuses nationwide. Several states are weighing legislation to allow gun permit holders to carry
concealed firearms on university campuses. They cite cases of actual successful neutralization of active campus shooters
by armed students to advance their cause. Another attempt by Delegate Gilbert to pass a law to allow concealed
weapons on college campuses in Virginia was defeated in March 2008. This law was for the sake of students and faculty
members only since the AG ruled that it did not apply to non-students and non-faculty on campus who could conceal
carry without restriction on campus. This law would have only mostly affected students at or above the age of 21 (seniors
and some juniors) since younger persons are not allowed to purchase handguns.
They claimed that Seung-Hui Cho was mentally unstable and ‘hooked’ on violent video games,
which led to the debate of why such video games were not regulated in the first place if it was
going to influence gamers to mimic actions.
“The game he's talking about is "Counter-Strike," a massively popular team-based tactical shooting
game that puts players in the heavily armed boots of either a counter-terrorist or terrorist. But
whether Seung-Hui Cho, the student who opened fire Monday, was an avid player of video games
and whether he was a fan of "Counter-Strike" in particular remains, even now, uncertain at best.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the school shootings and the finger-pointing that followed, game
players and industry advocates say they're outraged that the brutal acts of a deeply disturbed and
depressed loner with a history of mental illness would be blamed so quickly on video and computer
games. They say this is perhaps the most flagrant case of anti-game crusaders using a tragedy to
promote their own personal causes...While Thompson concedes that there are many elements that
must have driven Cho to commit such a brutal act, he insists that without video games Cho
wouldn't have had the skills to do what he did. He might have killed somebody but he wouldn't
have killed 32 if he hadn't rehearsed it and trained himself like a warrior on virtual reality. It can't
be done. It just doesn't happen.“ (Jack Thompson, Florida Attorney)
After the accusations of Cho’s motives for the attack, video games were closely analysed and soon
regulated due to the possible influences and un-moral messages they gave out to younger children
and adults. This was in aid of hoping that nothing like the VT shootings would be repeated ever
Other related articles: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/12/games
ASA is a UK independent regulator of advertising across all media. They apply the Advertising Codes, which are
written by the Committees of Advertising Practice.
Call of Duty (Modern Warfare) Trailer – the debate:
After COD was released, there were many complaints to ASA
about the controversy behind the trailer. People thought that
the ad reinforced negative stereotypes of the soldiers that were
being portrayed as ‘senseless killers’ and it trivialised the true
responsibility of soldiers today. It was believed that the game
was giving a mixed real life/game image – almost too realistic
and that there is a blurred line between reality and fantasy.
After the complaints, ASA regulated and censored the trailer,
stating “that the campaign contained scenes of extensive
gunfire, explosions and destruction that were accompanied by a
dramatic soundtrack”. However, the BBFC saw no issue with the
video game ad and rated it a PG, saying that “some scenes may
be unsuitable for younger children”. On the other hand, due to it
being an advert, ASA had the final say and decided to make
dramatic cuts in hoping that it would be more acceptable for
universal viewing. This also leads to the question of selfregulation, believing that it is under our own control to decide
what we watch and how we interpret what is being shown. We
have to decide what is real and what is virtual.
The PCC is an independent self-regulatory body which deals with complaints about the editorial content of
newspapers and magazines (and their websites). We keep industry standards high by training journalists and
editors, and work pro-actively behind the scenes to prevent harassment and media intrusion. We can provide
pre-publication advice to journalists and the public and have published advice on dealing with media attention
after a death.
The aims of the Press Complaints Commission are to "carry on activities which benefit the community", and in particular:
to promote and uphold the highest professional standards of journalism in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the
Isle of Man; and to consider, adjudicate, conciliate and resolve or settle by reference to the Editors' Code of Practice
complaints from the public of unjust or unfair treatment by the newspapers, periodicals or magazines and of unwarranted
infringements of privacy through material published in newspapers, periodicals or magazines (other than advertising placed
by third parties) or in connection with the obtaining of such material and to publish or procure the publication of any
findings of its adjudication. In fulfilling its role, the Commission gives consideration to the principles of freedom of
expression and the public's right to know, and the defence of the press from improper pressure.
In November 2012, Lord Hunt, Chair of the PCC, responded to the publication of Lord Justice Leveson's Report. He
reiterated a commitment to moving forward as swiftly as possible to a new regulatory body. The UK newspaper and
magazine industry has agreed to construct a new regulatory system which is compliant with Lord Justice Leveson's
recommendations and is currently in discussions about the precise form that will take. Lord Hunt is working with the
industry to set up the new organisation in accordance with those agreed objectives, and is keeping Government and
Parliament informed of progress.
In the meantime the Press Complaints Commission will continue to deal with complaints from members of the public, which
can be made in the normal way throughout the transition period. The terms of the Editors' Code of Practice remain the
same, and members of PCC staff are available at any time to offer advice, including on an emergency out-of-hours basis for
concerns relating to harassment or attention from journalists and photographers.
A two-part inquiry was announced to the start of an investigation that would be examining
the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal on 13th July 2011, appointing
Lord Justice Leveson chairman of the inquiry. Part one will investigate the culture, practices,
ethics of the media and the relationship of the press with the public, police and politicians.
It will make proposals for the future of press regulation and governance, dependable with
maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional
standards. Lord Justice
Leveson opened the hearings on 14 November 2011, saying: “The press provides an
essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects
all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the
Obviously some of the main points of Leveson's investigation were
the culture, practices, ethics of the media and the relationship of the
press with the public, police and politicians. Therefore, it led to a
whole new inquiry into how the Press and Media is regulated for the
public because it would seem that it is just one whole hypodermic
needle in the media world, which is seen as biased and unfair.
"Lord Leveson's exhaustive inquiry into the media is due to report
with recommendations on the future regulation of the press and
the press, politicians and police."
The Leveson Inquiry has heard appalling evidence of Press
malpractice, abuse and criminality. People are optimistic that
Leveson will put forward recommendations to ensure this stops and
surprisingly, given what has happened, there already seems to be
good Press laws which are backed by a code. The problem is you
can't go to law unless you are rich, and several national newspapers
simply ignore their own code. The hope is that Leveson will
recommend that the power to enforce the law and the industry's own
code be given to an entirely independent tribunal to which everyone
has access irrespective of their means.
British journalism has been poisoned in recent years by something that happened at most of our national
newspapers. They became unaccountable, and then they became arrogant and cruel. An editor at the News
of the World summed up the attitude.
"This is what we do,' he said. 'We go out and destroy other people's lives."
That's not what most journalists think, but nor, sadly, has it been the view of a tiny minority. Almost every
national newspaper participated in the attempt to destroy the lives of Gerry and Kate McCann. Eight
newspapers tried to destroy the life of Christopher Jefferies, the Bristol teacher wrongly accused of
murder. This is bad for a profession whose mission, I was taught as a young reporter, is to bear witness to
the world in a truthful way.
"I want a body capable of asking the hard questions, pointing the finger of blame and ensuring
that lessons are learned. It must be independent of the industry
and of government and it should have the clout to
ensure that mighty news organisations take heed."
There are sections of the press that don't inform the public, which seems to be aimed at providing little
more than sensation and salacious forms of entertainment. Under the current system, the Press Complaints
Commission has been unable to reign in the excesses of certain sections of the press, and it stretches
credulity that one more attempt at self-regulation will result in something different. Unlike the PCC, this
new body should have powers to initiate investigations, plus significant powers to discipline newspapers
that flout journalist standards and make guilty publications compensate their victims.
However, what seemed like a 'misregulation' by the Press, turned into
even more by the hacking of phones
and the discovery of David
Cameron's and Rebekah Brooks'
'cosy' texts. They claimed it was
purely innocent texting and no harm
was done, although several
conversations between had been
brought up in court as suspicious,
therefore the Press tried to expose
an 'affair' that they saw as an
opportunity for a good story and the
relationship between Cameron and
Brooks was either to be an 'affair' or
an 'exchange of policies', both of
which were seen as a conspiracy and
looked bad on The News of the
World and the Government.
In his evidence to the Leveson inquiry, Cameron acknowledged that he and Brooks had become
particularly friendly after she married his childhood friend Charlie Brooks - who lives in his Oxfordshire
constituency. Despite revealing the close relationship he holds with Brooks, the PM insisted it did not
demonstrate any wrong-doing. Brooks has previously laid bare the closeness of her friendship with the
prime minister - including his habit of signing off texts "LOL" apparently in the belief it meant "lots of
He sent a message urging her to "keep your head up" when she too resigned over the phone hacking
scandal and expressed regret that he could not be more loyal, she disclosed to the inquiry last month.
Cameron launched an angry attack on his predecessor Gordon Brown for suggesting that the
Conservative Party had done a "deal" with Rupert Murdoch to bring in policies favored by News
Corporation in return for favorable press coverage. Cameron told the inquiry that while he wanted to
win over the newspapers this did not mean he promised to give media proprietors such as Murdoch a
"better time" on various policies.
David Cameron has rejected the central proposal of the Leveson inquiry, for a statutory body to oversee the
new independent press regulator, warning that legislation could ultimately infringe on free speech and a free
press. Cameron warned that the legislation required to underpin the regulatory body would be more
complicated and create a vehicle for politicians in the future to impose regulation and obligations on the press.
He said other options should be explored for putting in place incentives, providing reassurance to the public and
ensuring other Leveson proposals were acted upon.
Clegg told MPs: "On the basic model of a new self-regulatory body, established with a change to the law in
principle, I believe this can be done in a proportionate and workable way."
The Lib Dem leader, who raised concerns about Leveson's proposal to give Ofcom a role and joined Miliband in
questioning the proposals on data protection, said he understood the "legitimate" concerns about legislation.
But he said: "Lord Justice Leveson has considered these issues at length. He has found that changing the law is
the only way to guarantee a system of self-regulation which seeks to cover all of the press. And he explains why
the system of sticks and carrots he proposes has to be recognized in statute in order to be properly
implemented by the courts."
Clegg said there was a difficult balancing act, though he said the time had come to end the bullying tactics of
He said: "There are two big, liberal principles at play in this debate: on the one hand, the belief that a raucous
and vigorous press is the lifeblood of a healthy democracy; on the other, the belief that the vulnerable, the
innocent and the weak should be protected from powerful vested interests.
"A free press does not mean a press that is free to bully innocent people or free to abuse grieving families.
What I want now is for us to strike a better balance between these two liberal principles so that our media can
scrutinize the powers that be, but cannot destroy innocent lives. So that the journalists up in the press gallery
can hold us – the politicians – to account, but we can look up to the individuals and families in the public gallery
knowing they have the right protections in place."
Leveson found that the existing Press Complaints Commission is not sufficient, and recommends a new independent body, which would have
a range of sanctions available to it, including fines and direction of the prominence of apologies and corrections. Membership of the body
would be voluntary, but incentivized by schemes such as a kitemark and an inquisitorial arbitration service for handling tort claims such as
libel and breach of privacy, and by allowing exemplary damages to be awarded in cases brought against non-participants in the scheme,
something not usually part of English law. Leveson rejected the characterization of his proposal as "statutory regulation of the press". Leveson
also made recommendations regarding the Data Protection Act, and powers and duties of the Information Commissioner, and about conduct
of relations between the press, the police, and politicians.
New watchdog: Create a new independent press watchdog with no MPs or serving newspaper editors allowed on the panel. It should be
underpinned by statute, but free of "any influence from industry and government".
Legislation: The industry should set up and organise the watchdog, but new legislation should "place an explicit duty on the government to
uphold and protect the freedom of the press".
Fines: The watchdog would be able to fine press organisations that breach its code by as as much as one per cent of their turnover with a
maximum fine of £1 million.
Speed: The new watchdog should be able to arbitrate civil legal claims against the press. The process should be a "fair, quick and inexpensive".
No obligation: Membership of the new body would not be a legal obligation. But any newspaper that opts out would not benefit from the
reduced legal fees enjoyed by members of the new arbitration service.
Phone hacking: There are no findings on any individual in the report, but Lord Leveson is not convinced phone hacking was confined to one or
Havoc: The damage caused by "a recklessness in prioritising sensational stories" has damaged people like the Dowlers and the McCanns.
Fame: Celebrities have a right to privacy, too. Leveson found "ample evidence" that parts of the press decided actors, footballers, writers and
pop stars were "fair game, public property with little if any entitlement to any sort of private life or respect for dignity". He adds: "Their
families, including their children, are pursued and important personal moments are destroyed."
Covert surveillance: The press has been willing to use covert surveillance, blagging and deception to get stories in cases where it is difficult to
see any public interest.
Complaints: Those who seek to complain about newspaper coverage of their affairs are rarely taken seriously enough. Leveson found "a
cultural tendency within parts of the press vigorously to resist or dismiss complainants almost as a matter of course".
Police: There is a perception that senior Met officers were "too close" to News International, which was "entirely understandable" given
police actions and decision-making and the extent of hospitality police officers received from journalists. "Poor decisions, poorly executed, all
came together to contribute to the perception." The Met's decision not to reopen the criminal inquiry into phone-hacking was "incredibly
swift" and resulted in a "defensive mindset".
Don't Cross the Line!
Here are some common-sense rules that will help you steer clear of trouble:
YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content. If this describes your video, even if it's a video of yourself,
don't post it on YouTube. In addition, please be advised that we work closely with law enforcement and we report child
exploitation. Please read our Safety Tips and stay safe on YouTube.
Don't post videos showing things like animal abuse, drug abuse or bomb making.
Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked or humiliated, don't post
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Jonathan Weinberg writes... Regulation? On the web? You must be thinking I've swallowed some happy pills to make a statement like that. After
all, the whole premise of the Internet has always been find anything you want, anywhere - hasn't it?
But while it's near on impossible to bring in blanket rules and laws to cover the whole of cyberspace, I do think it is time some sites were forced
to put their hands up and take much more responsibility for their actions - and that starts with YouTube.
A poll out today found YouTube is the most popular user-generated site in the UK after attracting 10.4 million people in January. That is a 56 per
cent increase in traffic compared to 2007 and just shows the reach it has.
The success of the video-sharing site has been phenomenal. Such fast growth over the years undoubtedly causes problems and makes it difficult
for any company to keep up with the demands of hosting such a vast wealth of moving images.
But the Conservative Party in the UK is set to announce today that if they ever get back in power, they would fine companies like YouTube if they
fail to remove footage of violent or sexual attacks. They are also said to be announcing a Minister to tackle cyber-crime, which I really applaud.
Anything or anyone that can concentrate their efforts full-time on a crucial 21st century problem like that, has to be a positive change and
something we are sorely lacking in the UK given the impact technology and the cyber realm has on our lives.
This week a woman claimed that her alleged rape was broadcast on YouTube and watched by 600 people. Now, those 600 people deserve
shooting as much as anyone responsible for any crime. What kind of person wants to view such sick material?
Thankfully, one person saw sense to complain and YouTube rightly removed it immediately as they will do whenever something offensive is
raised to them. But it begs the question of should it have got on there in the first place? The nature of a site like this is that a video can be
watched by millions in the time between it being uploaded and someone being wise enough to complain. Notice and take down as it is called
works well most of the time, but is it the solution when it allows a miniscule percentage to slip through?
Even the fines proposed wouldn't stop disgusting and/or criminal videos hitting the web, only a complete pre-watching of content can do that.
And with millions of videos an hour going onto YouTube, that is understandably impossible.
Video sites now account for five out of 10 of the fastest growing websites, with other brands including Veoh, Video Jug and Tudou all showing
triple-figure growth. These firms have to ensure they are doing all they can to be pro-active when it comes to offensive content. I hate the
argument proposed by many people claiming "who are we to censor the Internet?".
Like publishers in the offline world are barred from printing words or pictures that breach laws, it's about time the online world was put under
similar strict rules. It takes major international co-operation to create a system like that and I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen in the next
decade. And in the fast-changing world of cyberspace, that's the equivalent of a million years.
Just look at YouTube's most recent announcement that it will launch a live video streaming service later this year. That technology allows people
to broadcast continuous video to multiple viewers through a webcam.
If nasty videos can already be uploaded and viewed until someone complains, how long before we hear of people using streaming to broadcast
crimes, offensive racist rants and disgusting sexual abuse of adults and children LIVE to millions around the world.
It's a horrid thought but one that must be tackled immediately. If it takes laws, then those laws should be passed. Otherwise, there will be a
tipping point when something horrendous happens, and then we'll all be losers from draconian knee-jerk reactions
from politicians who only wake up to potential pitfalls of cyberspace... after the alarm has sounded and the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IORjLvk8q1E - William Black on JP Morgan and the Failure to Regulate Wall Street Fraud
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE2eu9ooiWk - Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: 'a Failure of Regulation, not Operation'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JtYS7gyYeY - Tory-Labour Banking Regulation Failure
Although the content of alcohol advertisements is restricted, Gerard Hastings and colleagues find that advertisers are still
managing to appeal to young people and promote drinking
Research has established that alcohol advertising,1 2 3 like that for tobacco4 and fast food,5 6 7 influences behaviour. It
encourages young people to drink alcohol sooner and in greater quantities. From a public health perspective, advertising of
alcohol should clearly be limited. The United Kingdom has opted for a system of self regulatory controls that focuses
primarily on the content of advertisements, with some limitations on the channels that can be used. This is overseen by the
Advertising Standards Authority, through the Committee of Advertising Practice, which represents the interests of
advertisers, agencies, and media owners.
As part of its alcohol inquiry, the House of Commons health select committee wanted to explore the success of self
regulation. It obtained a large number of internal marketing documents from alcohol producers and their communications
agencies in order to examine the thinking and strategic planning that underpin alcohol advertising and hence show not just
what advertisers are saying, but why they are saying it. Here we present the key insights to emerge.
Selection of documents
Because alcohol advertising is so extensive (around £800m (€900m; $1.3bn) a year)8 it was not possible to examine
documents from all relevant companies. Requests were therefore sent to only four producers, chosen for their profile, and
their respective communications agencies; and they were asked to send documents relating to just five brands out of the
dozens on their books for 2005-8 (table 1⇓). We analysed the documents on behalf of the committee.
Over the years YouTube has developed a critical censorship and regulation attitude which has changed the way in
which we stream and watch video’s that contain a certain content. The rules are specifically in place to stop younger
children from accessing explicit video’s that would either influence or upset them and it is still questioned today
whether YouTube is doing enough to protect children from such viewings. The thing is, you can’t always protect them
because there are some people who are capable of hacking such systems and websites so that they are able to upload
video’s that would not normally be accepted by websites. YouTube has these regulations so that we can enforce them
as well, and they do their best to censor any material that is majorly inappropriate for any person’s viewing. In my
opinion, I feel that YouTube has created a strong censorship and regulation, however I think they could do more in the
protection of their website to prevent people from abusing the website and posting inappropriate material on their
that is accessible by younger children.
“It seems like after YouTube has been purchased by Google, it has managed to attract a large number of news stories,
particularly with calls to regulate the site.
The first news item comes from a potential crack-down of YouTube in the UK, as it has been noticed by ministers that
the site is used for cyber-bullying, posting violent attacks on the streets, and to humiliate teachers. While the use of
the site’s upload capabilities to promote violence are abhorrent, one has to ask whether it is possible to regulate the
practice only within the UK. Perhaps YouTube can fulfil better policing and editorial functions, but that would leave
them more vulnerable to liability.
There are other stories about copyright concerns. The BBC reports that YouTube has had to remove 30,000 infringing
clips from Japanese media companies, and then that an independent company has been placing Premiership goals on
the site. I believe that what has been taking place has been prompted by the increase in publicity, but also by the fact
that YouTube will increasingly become a target for litigation.”
New York Times
The demonstration was an outpouring of support for journalists at the relatively liberal newspaper Southern Weekend, who erupted in fury late
last week over what they called overbearing interference by local propaganda officials.
At the same time, the embattled newsroom received backing on the Internet from celebrities and other prominent commentators that turned
what began as a local censorship dispute into a national display of solidarity.
“Hoping for a spring in this harsh winter,” Li Bingbing, an actress, said to her 19 million followers on a microblog account. Yao Chen, an actress
with more than 31 million followers, quoted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian dissident: “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.”
Disputes between media organizations and local party leaders over the limits of reporting and expressions of opinion are common in China, but
rarely emerge into public view. This time, calls to support the frustrated journalists spread quickly in Chinese online forums over the weekend,
and those who showed up on Monday outside the media offices in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, ran the gamut from high
school and university students to retirees.
Many carried banners scrawled with slogans and white and yellow chrysanthemums, a flower that symbolizes mourning. One banner read: “Get
rid of censorship. The Chinese people want freedom.” Police officers watched, but did not interfere.
The journalists at Southern Weekend have been calling for the ouster of Tuo Zhen, the top propaganda official in Guangdong Province, who took
up his post last May. They blame him for overseeing a change in a New Year’s editorial that originally called for greater respect for constitutional
rights under the headline “China’s Dream, the Dream of Constitutionalism.”
The editorial went through layers of changes and ultimately became one praising the direction of the current political system, in which the
Communist Party continues to exercise authority over all aspects of governance.
A well-known entrepreneur, Hung Huang, said online that the actions of Mr. Tuo had “destroyed, overnight, all the credibility the country’s top
leadership had labored to re-establish since the 18th Party Congress,” the November gathering in Beijing that was the climax of the leadership
transition installing Xi Jinping as Communist Party chief. Mr. Xi, who is also scheduled to assume the nation’s presidency in March, has raised
expectations that he might pursue a more open-minded approach to molding China’s economic and political models during his planned decadelong tenure.
But more recently, he has said China must respect its socialist roots, which appeared to be a move to placate conservatives in the party.
One journalist for Southern Weekend said Monday night that talks between the various parties had taken place that afternoon, but there were
no results to announce. “The negotiations did not go well at all,” the journalist said in a telephone interview.
Signs had emerged earlier that central propaganda officials were moving to dismantle support for the protest. A fiery editorial by Global Times, a
populist newspaper, attacked the rebels at Southern Weekend and essentially accused them of conspiring against the government. Xinhua, the
state news agency, and other prominent news sites published the editorial online, apparently at the orders of propaganda officials.
“Propaganda is still on the old road,” said an editor at a party media organization.
But by Tuesday morning, the news portals run by large Internet companies like Sina and Sohu rather than by the state had posted disclaimers
with the Global Times editorial, saying the opinions did not reflect those of the companies.
It was on the Internet where the campaign to support the beleaguered journalists was reaching full bloom. Bloggers with large readerships, Han
Han and Li Chengpeng, urged defiance of press censorship, and calls spread on microblogs for more rallies outside the newspaper offices on
It was unclear how many employees in the Southern Weekend newsroom had heeded calls by reporters for a strike to display their
determination to resist censorship. A local journalist who went by the newspaper’s Beijing office on Monday said the building appeared to be
open, but quiet. One employee at the site, where about 30 people work, told the journalist that the office was not on strike.
Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, three women and two men in their 20s walked up to the newspaper headquarters in Guangzhou and took cellphone
photos of one another holding a handwritten cardboard sign that said, “Tuo Zhen, go home.”
“Everyone in Guangdong Province knows Tuo Zhen is a bad guy,” said one of the men, who declined to give his name for security reasons.
Outspoken intellectuals have circulated an online petition demanding Mr. Tuo’s removal. Mr. Tuo could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Besides being a weather vane that could reveal the direction of Mr. Xi and the new party leadership, the tensions at Southern Weekend could
pose a serious test for Hu Chunhua, Guangdong’s new party chief and a potential candidate to succeed Mr. Xi as China’s leader in a decade.
Mr. Hu’s predecessor, Wang Yang, was labeled a “reformer” by many Western political analysts, but he presided over a tightening of media
freedoms in the province, and specifically over the Nanfang Media Group, the parent company of Southern Weekend and other publications. Mr.
Hu, 43, is a rising star in the party who got a Politburo seat in November and is a protégé of Hu Jintao, Mr. Xi’s colorless and conservative
predecessor. There appears to be some tension in the party propaganda apparatus over how to handle the situation.
On Monday, People’s Daily, a party-controlled newspaper, ran a signed commentary that said propaganda officials should “follow the rhythm of
the times” and help the authorities establish a “pragmatic and open-minded image.” Some people have interpreted this as encouragement for a
more enlightened approach in dealing with the news media.
But the scathing editorial by Global Times reflected a conflicting and perhaps more official line on the uprising at Southern Weekend, since by
Monday night it had been reprinted on several major news Web sites.
The editorial said Southern Weekend is merely a newspaper and should not challenge the system, as it appeared to be doing. It criticized the
newspaper’s supporters, including Chen Guangcheng, the rights advocate persecuted by Chinese officials, who fled to the United States last year.
“Even in the West,” it said, “mainstream media would not choose to openly pick a fight with the government.”
In Washington, the State Department said Monday that media censorship is incompatible with China’s aspirations to build a modern informationbased economy and society. A department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said the Chinese were now strongly taking up their right to freedom
of speech. “We hope the government is taking notice,” she said at a news briefing, according to The Associated Press. The conflict at Southern
Weekend was exacerbated Sunday night by top officials at the newspaper who said on the publication’s official microblog that the New Year’s
editorial had been written with the consent of editors. According to an online account on Monday, that statement was made after pressure was
exerted by Yang Jian, the deputy provincial propaganda official who last year was appointed head of the party committee at Nanfang Media
Group. Southern Weekend’s acting editor in chief, Huang Can, then pressed an employee to give up the microblog password so the statement
could be posted. Neither Mr. Yang nor Mr. Huang could be reached for comment on Monday.
The staff at Southern Weekend, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, walked out after a New Year editorial article written by them was
altered on the orders of the Communist Party's local propaganda boss. The workers accuse Tuo Zhen, Guangdong's provincial propaganda chief,
of having their words changed into a message of praise for China's Communist Party.
The original article, which was an end-of-year editorial, was titled "China's Dream: the dream of constitutionalism".
According to those who saw the original piece, it had argued that "only by realising rule by constitution, effectively checking power, can citizens
vocally criticise authority".
However, the article which appeared in the paper was markedly different. There was no mention of political reform within it and it claimed that
the people of China are "closer than ever to their dream of renaissance". It is understood the staff decided to strike after a disagreement over
who controls the newspaper's micro-blogging account. A statement had been issued on the account denying that the editorial had been altered.
Outside the newspaper's offices, protesters held hand-written signs that said "freedom of expression is not a crime" and "Chinese people want
freedom". The journalists' stand has attracted huge support on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, despite attempts by the authorities to
block any mention of the story. Sky News staff in Beijing monitoring the Weibo website watched posts which mentioned the story being deleted
by the censors as quickly as they appeared. Among the posts seen by Sky News were some by prominent Chinese journalists in support of their
Columnist Li Qing compared China's undemocratic rise with the introduction of democracy in neighbouring Burma. Mr Li wrote: "Imagine when
you standing in front of a small country like Burma and speak to him arrogantly: 'I have the tallest building in Asia, do you have it?' He shakes his
head; you say: 'I have the aircraft carrier, do you have it?' He shakes again. When you are thinking what to say the next, he suddenly asks: 'I have
the newspaper with freedom, do you have it?' Then how undignified you would be?!"
Magazine editor Lin Tianhong posted: "All these years, all of us, our articles were killed, our mouth was forced to shut, we were forced to keep
silent. So we started to get used to it, start to confirm ourselves, start to get familiar with the borders and lines between brightness and
darkness, start to self-inspect, just like the frogs being cooked in warm water …"Then we went too far, seem to have forgotten why we entered
this business at the first place. Why do we protect our colleagues in Southern Weekly? For me, just one sentence, life is short, how can we forget
who we originally are?!" Predictably, news of the row and the strike is not being covered on any Chinese media outlet. An article about it did
appear in the online edition of China Daily, an English language state-run paper, but within an hour it had been removed.
China's TV News and printed press is entirely state-run and controlled by the Communist Party.
A clash on this level between editorial staff and party chiefs is unprecedented. The handling of the case will be a test for the incoming Chinese
The new Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will take office in March, had promised less censorship within Chinese media.
Journalists at a state-controlled newspaper in China have staged a strike in protest against
government censorship – the first public demonstration of its kind in more than two
Staff at the Southern Weekend newspaper, which, despite being state controlled, is
regarded as the most liberal of Chinese titles, took to the street today after the
newspaper’s management changed a new year’s editorial calling for political reform and a
Photographs on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of the banned social network Twitter,
showed hundreds of people gathered outside the newspaper offices in Guangzhou, in the
southern province of Guangdong, to support the editorial workers. They held banners
saying “end press censorship. The Chinese people want freedom” and carried
chrysanthemums, the traditional Chinese flower of mourning. The newspaper’s staff is
demanding the resignation of Tuo Zhen, the local propaganda official who is believed to
have doctored the new year’s editorial and replaced it with a vapid tribute praising the
ruling Communist Party.
The government generally comes down hard on such political expression. But the
protesters in Guangzhou were mostly middle-class, educated young people – a key plank
of support for the ruling Communist Party. So the government is unlikely to respond
harshly. Chinese journalists are strongly censored in what they can produce, and regular
diktats are sent down from the propaganda bureaus, both at regional level and from the
central government. Dealing with sensitive issues is a bureaucratic nightmare, and
journalists must go through many official channels before publication.
Audience theory provides a starting point for many Media Studies tasks. Whether you are constructing a text or analysing one, you will
need to consider the destination of that text (i.e. its target audience) and how that audience (or any other) will respond to that text.
Remember that a media text in itself has no meaning until it is read or decoded by an audience.
For GCSE, you learned how audience is described and measured. Now you need a working knowledge of the theories which attempt to
explain how an audience receives, reads and responds to a text. Over the course of the past century or so, media analysts have developed
several effects models, ie theoretical explanations of how humans ingest the information transmitted by media texts and how this might
influence (or not) their behaviour. Effects theory is still a very hotly debated area of Media and Psychology research, as no one is able to
come up with indisputable evidence that audiences will always react to media texts one way or another. The scientific debate is clouded by
the politics of the situation: some audience theories are seen as a call for more censorship, others for less control. Whatever your personal
stance on the subject, you must understand the following theories and how they may be used to deconstruct the relationship between
audience and text.
1. The Hypodermic Needle Model
Dating from the 1920s, this theory was the first attempt to explain how mass audiences might react to mass media. It is a crude model
(see picture!) and suggests that audiences passively receive the information transmitted via a media text, without any attempt on their
part to process or challenge the data. Don't forget that this theory was developed in an age when the mass media were still fairly new radio and cinema were less than two decades old. Governments had just discovered the power of advertising to communicate a message,
and produced propaganda to try and sway populaces to their way of thinking. This was particularly rampant in Europe during the First
World War (look at some posters here) and its aftermath.
Basically, the Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciouness of the audience
unmediated, ie the experience, intelligence and opinion of an individual are not relevant to the reception of the text. This theory suggests
that, as an audience, we are manipulated by the creators of media texts, and that our behaviour and thinking might be easily changed by
media-makers. It assumes that the audience are passive and heterogenous. This theory is still quoted during moral panics by parents,
politicians and pressure groups, and is used to explain why certain groups in society should not be exposed to certain media texts (comics
in the 1950s, rap music in the 2000s), for fear that they will watch or read sexual or violent behaviour and will then act them out
2. Two-Step Flow
The Hypodermic model quickly proved too clumsy for media researchers seeking to more precisely explain the relationship between
audience and text. As the mass media became an essential part of life in societies around the world and did NOT reduce populations to a
mass of unthinking drones, a more sophisticated explanation was sought.
Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet analysed the voters' decision-making processes during a 1940 presidential election
campaign and published their results in a paper called The People's Choice. Their findings suggested that the information does not flow
directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" who then communicate it to
their less active associates, over whom they have influence. The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media
with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders, thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two-step flow. This
diminished the power of the media in the eyes of researchers, and caused them to conclude that social factors were also important in the
way in which audiences interpreted texts. This is sometimes referred to as the limited effects paradigm.
The Byron Review 2008 - Government
Media may have some
influence on negative
behaviour in children,
but it should not be
singled out as a cause;
specific sociocultural and
psychological context is
Dr. Tanya Byron
There is no evidence of
playing video games;
idea of games as
addictive is based on
The Byron Review 2008 - Government
There is no evidence of
playing vide games; idea
of games as addictive is
based on prejudice
Douglas Gentile - Media Effects
Offers a range of scientific
‘proof’ that antisocial and
increases due to playing
violent video games
Mark Kermode - Critic
The public has a responsibility
to look after itself and they are
giving this up to the regulators
Accuses the BBFC of being
more liberal in their classification
of ‘Arthouse’ cinema;
taking into account assumptions
about the white, middle-class,
• Research by the BBFC has found that
audiences are concerned about violence and
drug-taking, rather than sex.
• Now, more films being passed at
feature explicit sexual scenes, such as 9 Songs
• The current video game debate is the same as the
video nasty debate of the 1980s
• Regulation is unlikely to decline
• Despite recent changes, the UK is still the most
heavily regulated nation in Europe
• Future regulation of content will focus more on
video games and interactive media
• Legislation will be needed to combat the
increasing fluidity between different - and
differently regulated - media