An Introduction to Censorship and Regulation

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An Introduction to Censorship and Regulation

  1. 1. CENSORSHIP: The effect of whatever is being published –the need to cut a certain clip or scene outREGULATION: Rules of what is right or wrong – assessingwhether it meets the rules What is censored/regulated in media products: - Drugs - Sex - Horrific Events/gore - Violence - Nudity - Language - Imitable Techniques - Racial Issues - Sexual Violence
  2. 2. As the power of the medium of moving pictures skyrocketed, a number of scandals rockedHollywood during the 1920‟s The code was enforced in 1934, however ended in 1967 due to the revolving society – peoplewere pushing the boundaries and the code was no longer relevant as the 1950‟s was therevolution of the T.V. In 1968 the code was replaced by a rating system; G – for general audience, MPG – All agesadmitted 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 offmovies during the revolution of the television in the 1950‟s
  3. 3. A U film should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over and should be set within a positivemoral framework, offering reassuring counterbalances to any violence, threat or horror. The ConsumerAdvice 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 aclear 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. theoutcome should be reassuring.- Imitable Behaviour: No potentially dangerous behaviour which young children are likely to copy. Noemphasis 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 foryoung children.- Violence: Mild violence only. Occasional mild threat or menace only
  4. 4. Parental Guidance means that the product is for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable foryoung children. The content should not disturb a child and parents are advised to consider whether the filmmay upset younger or more sensitive children.Context of Certificate Parental Guidance:- Discrimination: Discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearlydisapproved of or in an educational or historical context. Discrimination by a character with which childrencan readily identify is unlikely to be acceptable.- 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 mitigatingfactor.- 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 andinnuendo only.- Theme: Where more serious issues are featured (for example, domestic violence) nothing in their treatmentshould condone unacceptable behaviour.- Violence: Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed, if justified by its context (forexample, history, comedy or fantasy).
  5. 5. Where material is suitable, in general, for those aged 12 and over. Works classified at this level may upsetchildren under 12 or contain material which many parents will find unsuitable for them. Exists only for videoworks - 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 arenot frequent or sustained.- Imitable Behaviour: Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should notdwell on detail which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free. Easily accessibly weapons should not beglamorised.- Language: Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, f***) must beinfrequent.- 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 issuitable 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 oninjuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context. Sexual violencemay only be implied or briefly, and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification.
  6. 6. No one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. No one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 ratedvideo work.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. Themisuse of easily accessibly and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely tobe acceptable.- Horror: Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.- Imitable Behaviour: Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should notdwell 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 (forexample, c***) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongestlanguage is unlikely to be acceptable.- Nudity: Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints onnudity in a non-sexual or educational context.- Sex: Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexualbehaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whoseprimary 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 goryimages 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 bediscreet and have a strong contextual justification.
  7. 7. Suitable only for adults only. No one younger than 18 may see an 18 rated film at the cinema or rent or buyan 18 rated video. In line with consistent findings of the BBFCs public consultations and The Human RightsAct 1998, at 18 the BBFCs guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should befree 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 acriminal offence.- Where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through theirbehaviour, society - for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal druguse, which may cause harm to public health or morals. This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualisedviolence 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 imagesmay be appropriate in R18 works, and in sex works would normally be confined to that category.
  8. 8. To be shown only in specially licensed cinemas, or supplied only in licensed sex shops, and to adults ofnot less than 18 yearsThe „R18‟ category is a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consentingsex or strong fetish material involving adults. Films may only be shown to adults in specially licensedcinemas, and video works may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops. „R18‟ video works may notbe 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 thecurrent interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity (forexample, paedophilia, incest or rape) which may include adults role-playing as non-adultsthe portrayal of any sexual activity which involves lack of consent (whether real or simulated). Any form ofphysical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consentthe 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 activitypenetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harmany 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.
  9. 9. Casino Royale – „torture of Bond‟ scene:The BBFC required the film to be cut to remove a bit from the torture scene wherebond is first sitting in the chair and has the draped over his shoulders, the removalof lingering shots of the rope and close shots of Bond‟s facial expression and asubstitution of a more distant shot of the beating – the BBFC stated, “there is nodwelling on detail or emphasis on injury” claiming that they found these changesacceptable and were able to classify the film as a 12A.nOn the other hand, althoughthese changes were put in place, it was still questioned whether the classificationwas too low as some scenes which included violence and nudity were still includedin the film.Human Centipede 2:The BBFC originally banned this film on the grounds that there was too much sexualviolence and that it was on the verge of obscenity. The directors agreed to make theadvised 32 cuts before it was classified by the BBFC as a certificate 18 in 2006.
  10. 10. 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 onein 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 abarrage of criticism from readers who found the image "disturbing”. Regarding the social and cultural significance ofThe Falling Man, theologian Mark D. Thompson of Moore Theological College says that "perhaps the most powerfulimage 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 perceptions.”The images of 9/11 (including the photo of the Falling Man) were seen as so disturbing and upsetting that they werepromptly banned from American television almost as soon as they were broadcast, and viewers in the U.S. only hadaccess to them via the internet and media circulations on other continents. There are two things, however, that madethe image different: On the one hand, it started an intensive (and partly excruciatingly frustrating) search for theidentity 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 viewersas 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 iconThe image, its story and its cultural resonance have been turned into a film that adds a very powerful dimension tothe documentation of 9/11 since it not only follows the factual events but shows how immediately after theattacks, the sheer violence of the experience and its resistance to representation necessitated and even enforced thecreation of narratives, of icons and of [yes!] artworks that would endow the event with meaning. Not just anymeaning, to be sure, and certainly not the meaning intended ostensibly by the terrorists. http://www.blogs.uni-osnabrueck.de/dondelillo/the-fiction/falling-man/
  11. 11. Cinematograph Act was enforced in 1909 to help regulate media products Harder to regulate the internet nowadays due it‟s global nature etc., forexample, impartiality – differences between the UK and US, and in Swedenits 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 notclever, so avoid it as much as possible. If it‟s in a quote, always star thefollowing, c***, f***, w***, f******* and w*****” Broadcasting Standards Commission (later replaced by Ofcom) even ratedswear words in 2002 – however, they rated normal swear words moreoffensive than racists ones Films and increasingly video games, are still being blamed for violence insociety today...
  12. 12. The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus ofVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Seung-Hui Choshot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks, approximately two hoursapart, before committing suicide (another 6 people were injured escaping from classroom windows). Themassacre is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history. It was also the worst act ofmass murder of college students since Syracuse University lost 35 students in the bombing of Pan Am Flight103.It is also the second-deadliest act of mass murder at a school campus in the United States, behind the BathSchool 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, VirginiaTech was unaware of Chos previous diagnosis or the accommodations he had been granted at school. In2005, Cho was accused of stalking two female students. After an investigation, a Virginia special justicedeclared Cho mentally ill and ordered him to attend treatment. Lucinda Roy, a professor and formerchairwoman of the English department, had also asked Cho to seek counselling. Chos mother also turned toher church for help.
  13. 13. The attacks received international media coverage and drew widespread criticism of U.S. laws and culture. Itsparked intense debate about gun violence, gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental healthissues, the perpetrators state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations, privacy laws, journalismethics, and other issues. Television news organizations that aired portions of the killers multimedia manifestowere criticized by victims families, Virginia law enforcement officials, and the American PsychiatricAssociation.The massacre prompted the state of Virginia to close legal loopholes that had previously allowed Cho, anindividual adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns without detection by the National InstantCriminal Background Check System (NICS). It also led to passage of the first major federal gun control measurein more than 13 years. The law strengthening the NICS was signed by President George W. Bush on January5, 2008.In August 2007, the Virginia Tech Review Panel Report recommended that the states General Assembly adoptlegislation "establishing the right of every institution of higher education to regulate the possession of firearmson campus if it so desires" and went on to recommend campus gun bans, "unless mandated by law." The reportalso recommended gun control measures unrelated to the circumstances of the massacre, such as requiringbackground checks for all private firearms sales, including those at gun shows. Governor Kaine made it apriority to enact a private sale background check law in the 2008 Virginia General Assembly, but the bill wasdefeated in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. Pro gun rights parties viewed this larger move as anunwarranted 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 gunholders (both open carry and concealed carry permit holders) from carrying their weapons on collegecampuses. Thirty-eight states throughout the U.S. ban weapons at schools; sixteen of those specifically banguns 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 weighinglegislation to allow gun permit holders to carry concealed firearms on university campuses. They cite cases ofactual successful neutralization of active campus shooters by armed students to advance their cause. Anotherattempt by Delegate Gilbert to pass a law to allow concealed weapons on college campuses in Virginia wasdefeated in March 2008. This law was for the sake of students and faculty members only since the AG ruledthat it did not apply to non-students and non-faculty on campus who could conceal carry without restriction oncampus. 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.
  14. 14. They claimed that Seung-Hui Cho was mentally unstable and „hooked‟ on violent videogames, which led to the debate of why such video games were not regulated in the firstplace if it was going to influence gamers to mimic actions.“The game hes 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 theyre 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 wouldnt have had the skills to do what he did. He might have killed somebody but he wouldnt have killed 32 if he hadnt rehearsed it and trained himself like a warrior on virtual reality. It cant be done. It just doesnt happen.“ (Jack Thompson, Florida Attorney)After the accusations of Cho‟s motives for the attack, video games were closely analysedand soon regulated due to the possible influences and un-moral messages they gave out toyounger children and adults. This was in aid of hoping that nothing like the VT shootingswould be repeated ever again. Other related articles: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/12/games
  15. 15. 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 toASA about the controversy behind the trailer. Peoplethought that the ad reinforced negative stereotypes of thesoldiers that were being portrayed as „senseless killers‟and it trivialised the true responsibility of soldiers today. Itwas believed that the game was giving a mixed reallife/game image – almost too realistic and that there is ablurred line between reality and fantasy. After thecomplaints, ASA regulated and censored thetrailer, stating “that the campaign contained scenes of extensivegunfire, explosions and destruction that were accompanied by adramatic soundtrack”. However, the BBFC saw no issuewith the video game ad and rated it a PG, saying that“some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children”. On theother hand, due to it being an advert, ASA had the finalsay and decided to make dramatic cuts in hoping that itwould be more acceptable for universal viewing. This alsoleads to the question of self-regulation, believing that it isunder our own control to decide what we watch and howwe interpret what is being shown. We have to decide whatis real and what is virtual.

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