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Contemporary Media
Regulation
G325 Revision
What I need to learn about:
• How media regulation now is different to the past
• The different kinds of media regulation and how they all
seek to ‘protect’ the public in the same way
• The effectiveness and impact of various forms of media
regulation – how well do they work and what differences
do they make to people’s lives?
• Debates around the role of the regulator in a democracy –
arguments for and against various forms of media
3 different kinds of media regulation:
• Regulation of media content
• Regulation of media access and distribution
• Regulation of ownership
Useful key words:
Media regulation = the control or guidance of mass media by
governments and other bodies.
Gatekeeping = the process through which information is
filtered for dissemination, whether for
publication, broadcasting, the Internet, or some other mode of
communication.
Classification = preventing people from accessing material
that is deemed unsuitable for their age
Censorship = removing material from public material
altogether
Moralists = believe that people need to be protected from the
harmful effects of the media. e.g. parents believe children
need to be controlled in using video games.
Pluralists = believe that people should choose what they
watch.
Press Regulation
Press regulation
• Press regulation is a key topic in contemporary media
regulation.
• At the moment, the press is being regulating by a non-
government, voluntary regulation body called the
Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
• It is made up of representatives of major publishers.
• It is funded by annual levy (tax), it charges
newspapers and magazines.
• It has no statutory/legal powers making it a ‘toothless
tiger’.
• Some newspapers perpetuate the practice of ‘publish
and be damned’, in comfort that they have far more
money to use in a legal battle than the public that are
suing.
• The PCC received extensive criticism for its lack of
action in the News Of The World phone hacking affair
from MP’s including David Cameron who called for it
to be replaced with a new system in July 2011.
• The PCC’s role in any complaint is essentially to act as
a dispute resolution service. They will try and come
up with a resolution which is satisfactory to both
sides, mainly the member of the public making the
complaint.
• Their approach is non-confrontational, non-
bureaucratic and their service is free of charge.
The Leveson Inquiry
• The Leveson inquiry is a public, judge-led inquiry set up
by David Cameron to examine the practice, culture and
ethics of the press.
• It was established in the wake of the phone hacking
scandal.
• Lord Justice Leveson has had a heavy influence on it,
making many recommendations for the future of press
regulation.
• He made broad and complex recommendations in
relation to how it should be regulated such as newspapers
should be self-regulated and the government should have
no power over what they publish.
• There should be a new press standards body created by
the industry with a new code of conduct.
• The body should be backed by legislation.
• The current system where the press is self-regulated
voluntarily through the PCC is widely agreed to be
doomed.
• They don’t have enough power
• Recently, The government agreed on a new system; a
royal charter.
• The government's Royal Charter agreed following all
party talks and endorsed by parliament was due to go
in front of the Privy Council on 15 May.
• But the largest newspaper groups responded by
publishing their own version and government sources
feared ministers might be open to legal challenge if it
did not consider the newspaper industry proposals.
• The privy council, struggling in new constitutional
territory, will now hold a three-week "period of openness"
in which it will allow the public to respond to the industry
Royal Charter.
• Following that three-week consultation, the privy council
will spend a further 15 days considering the responses
before deciding how to proceed.
• Government sources said the decision on which Royal
Charter to be selected will be set against specific
criteria, including whether the charter submitted by many
in the newspaper industry could be truly regarded as an
industry proposal.
• The press charter was backed by News International and
the publisher of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph – but
not by the owners of the Financial Times and the Guardian.
Case Studies
• The press have been guilty of lying, intrusion, intimidation,
hacking and many more inappropriate actions. Here are a
few case studies which support this:
• Lying:
• Chris Jefferies – around new year 2010/2011, Chris
Jefferies was arrested in Bristol on suspicion of
murdering his tenant Joanna Yates, but released
without charge.
• He was found innocent when another man confessed.
• The days that followed his arrest, he was monstered by
the press.
• He was called ‘weird’, ‘creepy’, ‘obsessed by death’ and
more by The Sun.
• He said that this left him feeling that his real identity
had been torn away and he had been falsely given this
new one. He sued and got an apology and
compensation.
Hacking:
• Millie Dowler – aged thirteen, Milly Dowler disappeared on
the evening of the 21st March 2002.
• The News of The World effectively decided to begin a an
investigation of their and hacked the voicemail of Millie
Dowler.
• They deleted some of her messages to make room for new
messages.
• Her parents noticed and this led to false hope that she was
still alive and actively on her phone.
Intrusion:
• JK Rowling – The author explained ‚as an adult, I have
made certain choices in my life and I must accept that
certain consequences follow. However, my children
have not made these choices‛.
• She said this following an incident where a journalist
slipped a letter into her daughters school bag
addressed to JK herself.
• She said that she felt a huge sense of invasion of
privacy and was very angry.
Film Regulation
Film Regulation
• The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is a non-
governmental organisation funded by the film
industry, responsible for the national classification and
censorship of films in the UK.
• It was originally called the British Board of Film
Censorship when it was established in 1921 but they
changed their name to "reflect the fact that classification
plays a far larger part in the Board's work than
censorship‛. Displaying how the organisation has become
more relaxed over time.
• The board has faced strong criticism for over censoring
films prior to the liberalising decade of the 1960’s where
films were routinely censored as a means of social control.
For example ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ was cut to reduce
‘the possibility of teenage rebellion’. (Copy Cat Theory)
• In general, attitudes to what
material is suitable for
viewing by minors have
changed over the years, and
this is reflected by the
reclassification of older films
being re-released on video.
• For example, the horror film
Revenge Of The Zombies,
was given a U certificate
upon re-release in the late
90’s. Originally it was given
an X rating (the equivalent to
an 18)
• Another area giving cause for concern is the
proliferation of the Web 2.0 and sites like YouTube
which allow consumers to become the producers.
• Technically, anybody could watch any of these material
since they are all unclassified or censored. In some cases
they ask you to confirm that you are a certain age
however it is easy to lie about this.
• This defeats the point of the BBFC, since the amount of
people watching films is growing all the time.
• It is also possible for children to access an amazon
account and order films of any age classification.
• This new wave of technology means that theoretically, A
young child could watch material extremely
inappropriate for their age.
• This means that parents need to regulate what their
children watch.
• As an independent body made up of laymen from
different backgrounds they represent society and therefore
current values and beliefs. The BBFC publish their
guidelines every five years, making amends as necessary.
Recently the ‘discrimination’ area was added, improving
the ability of the BBFC to adapt to current beliefs.
• The ‘C’ in BBFC used to stand for Censorship, so in
moving to Classification, this represents a more liberal
approach than in recent times.
• The BBFC acknowledges overriding principals of
context, time, and release format. Tangled (2010, Greno)
was rated PG since the BBGC realised that although there
was fighting, the fantasy setting would be obvious to
children as a prince was fighting a nurse, which is
unrealistic.
• However, new technology like CGI and 3G animation
blurs the lines between fantasy and reality so maybe the
BBFC Key legislation
• 1959 – Obscene publications act – The law that defines
obscenity and separates it from serious works of art
• 1978 – Protection act of children – Legislation governing
indecent images of children
• 1984 – Video recording act – Legislation that introduced
compulsory video act
• 1988 – Copyright act – The key British copyright
legislation
• 1994 – Criminal justice act – Wide ranging legislation
that also extended film and video censorship
• 2006 – Animal welfare act - It is illegal to supply,
publish, show or possess with intent to supply a video
recording of an ‘animal fight’ that has taken place within
Great Britain
For and against media regulation
For Against
Protect vulnerable members of out society
from harm
Freedom of speech – everyone should have
the right to say what they want, and
watch/read what they want. It’s up to the
public to decide for themselves.
Children in particular need protecting –
Bobo Doll experiment proves the
Hypodermic Syringe Theory to be of some
truth, that children will be influenced by
what they see.
O’Davey – Critic – Violence plays a vital
part in our lives; it is often the catalyst for
other emotions that lead to films being
made that express these.
Douglas Gentile – Media effects researcher
– Offers a range of scientific proof that
dangerous behaviour increases due to
playing violent video games.
Martin Baker – Media effects researcher –
We need to see violence as it is a part of real
life and helps us to understand the world
we live in.
Protect privacy of celebrities or families of
victims. Press has been guilty of intrusion,
hacking, lying, and intimidating.
Celebrities have put themselves in the
spotlight, they should learn to expect the
press to do what they do.
Protect animals from harm If the government regulates the press, with
their power the could well find ways of
conveying subliminal messages to sway the
audience’s beliefs almost like propaganda.
This wouldn't’t be democratic.
Theories
Theories
• Barker and Petley – There is an obsession with trying to prove that the media
are responsible for a range of social problems and the researchers who want to
find this link carry on without any evidence.
• Hypodermic Syringe – Views audience as passive recipients of injected media
messages – largely rejected
• Desensitisation – The idea that the more violence we see, the less shocked we
are by it in real life
• Uses and gratification theory – What people do with media to satisfy certain
needs
• Post modernism – Looks at how boundaries between reality and media have
been blurred.
• Gauntlett – Argues that web 2.0 media erodes boundaries between producer
and audience – media 2.0
More Theoretical Perspectives
• The Byron Review 2008 - Government Commissioned there is no evidence of
‘desensitisation’ from playing video games; idea of games as addictive is based on
prejudice. 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 crucial. Dr. Tanya Byron.
• Douglas Gentile - Media Effects Researcher. Offers a range of scientific ‘proof’ that
antisocial and dangerous behaviour 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, middle-aged audience.
• O Davey – Critic Violence plays a vital part in all our lives; it is often the catalyst
for other emotions that lead to films being made that express these. Violence cannot
be distinguished from film as we cannot distinguish violence from life.
• Martin Barker - Media Effects Researcher. We need to see violence as it is part of
real life and helps us to understand the world we live in. We are able to make a
distinction between real and onscreen violence; it is the content, not the amount of
violence that matters
• Owen Jones –Political commentator – We need to challenge the way the media has
been monopolized by the small number of oligarchs – we should restrict ownership
so you can only have 1 outlet per owner.

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15042024_First India Newspaper Jaipur.pdf
 

Contemporary Media Regulation in the UK

  • 2. What I need to learn about: • How media regulation now is different to the past • The different kinds of media regulation and how they all seek to ‘protect’ the public in the same way • The effectiveness and impact of various forms of media regulation – how well do they work and what differences do they make to people’s lives? • Debates around the role of the regulator in a democracy – arguments for and against various forms of media 3 different kinds of media regulation: • Regulation of media content • Regulation of media access and distribution • Regulation of ownership
  • 3. Useful key words: Media regulation = the control or guidance of mass media by governments and other bodies. Gatekeeping = the process through which information is filtered for dissemination, whether for publication, broadcasting, the Internet, or some other mode of communication. Classification = preventing people from accessing material that is deemed unsuitable for their age Censorship = removing material from public material altogether Moralists = believe that people need to be protected from the harmful effects of the media. e.g. parents believe children need to be controlled in using video games. Pluralists = believe that people should choose what they watch.
  • 5. Press regulation • Press regulation is a key topic in contemporary media regulation. • At the moment, the press is being regulating by a non- government, voluntary regulation body called the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). • It is made up of representatives of major publishers. • It is funded by annual levy (tax), it charges newspapers and magazines. • It has no statutory/legal powers making it a ‘toothless tiger’. • Some newspapers perpetuate the practice of ‘publish and be damned’, in comfort that they have far more money to use in a legal battle than the public that are suing.
  • 6. • The PCC received extensive criticism for its lack of action in the News Of The World phone hacking affair from MP’s including David Cameron who called for it to be replaced with a new system in July 2011. • The PCC’s role in any complaint is essentially to act as a dispute resolution service. They will try and come up with a resolution which is satisfactory to both sides, mainly the member of the public making the complaint. • Their approach is non-confrontational, non- bureaucratic and their service is free of charge.
  • 7. The Leveson Inquiry • The Leveson inquiry is a public, judge-led inquiry set up by David Cameron to examine the practice, culture and ethics of the press. • It was established in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. • Lord Justice Leveson has had a heavy influence on it, making many recommendations for the future of press regulation. • He made broad and complex recommendations in relation to how it should be regulated such as newspapers should be self-regulated and the government should have no power over what they publish. • There should be a new press standards body created by the industry with a new code of conduct. • The body should be backed by legislation.
  • 8. • The current system where the press is self-regulated voluntarily through the PCC is widely agreed to be doomed. • They don’t have enough power • Recently, The government agreed on a new system; a royal charter. • The government's Royal Charter agreed following all party talks and endorsed by parliament was due to go in front of the Privy Council on 15 May. • But the largest newspaper groups responded by publishing their own version and government sources feared ministers might be open to legal challenge if it did not consider the newspaper industry proposals.
  • 9. • The privy council, struggling in new constitutional territory, will now hold a three-week "period of openness" in which it will allow the public to respond to the industry Royal Charter. • Following that three-week consultation, the privy council will spend a further 15 days considering the responses before deciding how to proceed. • Government sources said the decision on which Royal Charter to be selected will be set against specific criteria, including whether the charter submitted by many in the newspaper industry could be truly regarded as an industry proposal. • The press charter was backed by News International and the publisher of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph – but not by the owners of the Financial Times and the Guardian.
  • 10. Case Studies • The press have been guilty of lying, intrusion, intimidation, hacking and many more inappropriate actions. Here are a few case studies which support this: • Lying: • Chris Jefferies – around new year 2010/2011, Chris Jefferies was arrested in Bristol on suspicion of murdering his tenant Joanna Yates, but released without charge. • He was found innocent when another man confessed. • The days that followed his arrest, he was monstered by the press. • He was called ‘weird’, ‘creepy’, ‘obsessed by death’ and more by The Sun. • He said that this left him feeling that his real identity had been torn away and he had been falsely given this new one. He sued and got an apology and compensation.
  • 11. Hacking: • Millie Dowler – aged thirteen, Milly Dowler disappeared on the evening of the 21st March 2002. • The News of The World effectively decided to begin a an investigation of their and hacked the voicemail of Millie Dowler. • They deleted some of her messages to make room for new messages. • Her parents noticed and this led to false hope that she was still alive and actively on her phone.
  • 12. Intrusion: • JK Rowling – The author explained ‚as an adult, I have made certain choices in my life and I must accept that certain consequences follow. However, my children have not made these choices‛. • She said this following an incident where a journalist slipped a letter into her daughters school bag addressed to JK herself. • She said that she felt a huge sense of invasion of privacy and was very angry.
  • 14. Film Regulation • The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is a non- governmental organisation funded by the film industry, responsible for the national classification and censorship of films in the UK. • It was originally called the British Board of Film Censorship when it was established in 1921 but they changed their name to "reflect the fact that classification plays a far larger part in the Board's work than censorship‛. Displaying how the organisation has become more relaxed over time. • The board has faced strong criticism for over censoring films prior to the liberalising decade of the 1960’s where films were routinely censored as a means of social control. For example ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ was cut to reduce ‘the possibility of teenage rebellion’. (Copy Cat Theory)
  • 15. • In general, attitudes to what material is suitable for viewing by minors have changed over the years, and this is reflected by the reclassification of older films being re-released on video. • For example, the horror film Revenge Of The Zombies, was given a U certificate upon re-release in the late 90’s. Originally it was given an X rating (the equivalent to an 18)
  • 16. • Another area giving cause for concern is the proliferation of the Web 2.0 and sites like YouTube which allow consumers to become the producers. • Technically, anybody could watch any of these material since they are all unclassified or censored. In some cases they ask you to confirm that you are a certain age however it is easy to lie about this. • This defeats the point of the BBFC, since the amount of people watching films is growing all the time. • It is also possible for children to access an amazon account and order films of any age classification. • This new wave of technology means that theoretically, A young child could watch material extremely inappropriate for their age. • This means that parents need to regulate what their children watch.
  • 17. • As an independent body made up of laymen from different backgrounds they represent society and therefore current values and beliefs. The BBFC publish their guidelines every five years, making amends as necessary. Recently the ‘discrimination’ area was added, improving the ability of the BBFC to adapt to current beliefs. • The ‘C’ in BBFC used to stand for Censorship, so in moving to Classification, this represents a more liberal approach than in recent times. • The BBFC acknowledges overriding principals of context, time, and release format. Tangled (2010, Greno) was rated PG since the BBGC realised that although there was fighting, the fantasy setting would be obvious to children as a prince was fighting a nurse, which is unrealistic. • However, new technology like CGI and 3G animation blurs the lines between fantasy and reality so maybe the
  • 18. BBFC Key legislation • 1959 – Obscene publications act – The law that defines obscenity and separates it from serious works of art • 1978 – Protection act of children – Legislation governing indecent images of children • 1984 – Video recording act – Legislation that introduced compulsory video act • 1988 – Copyright act – The key British copyright legislation • 1994 – Criminal justice act – Wide ranging legislation that also extended film and video censorship • 2006 – Animal welfare act - It is illegal to supply, publish, show or possess with intent to supply a video recording of an ‘animal fight’ that has taken place within Great Britain
  • 19. For and against media regulation For Against Protect vulnerable members of out society from harm Freedom of speech – everyone should have the right to say what they want, and watch/read what they want. It’s up to the public to decide for themselves. Children in particular need protecting – Bobo Doll experiment proves the Hypodermic Syringe Theory to be of some truth, that children will be influenced by what they see. O’Davey – Critic – Violence plays a vital part in our lives; it is often the catalyst for other emotions that lead to films being made that express these. Douglas Gentile – Media effects researcher – Offers a range of scientific proof that dangerous behaviour increases due to playing violent video games. Martin Baker – Media effects researcher – We need to see violence as it is a part of real life and helps us to understand the world we live in. Protect privacy of celebrities or families of victims. Press has been guilty of intrusion, hacking, lying, and intimidating. Celebrities have put themselves in the spotlight, they should learn to expect the press to do what they do. Protect animals from harm If the government regulates the press, with their power the could well find ways of conveying subliminal messages to sway the audience’s beliefs almost like propaganda. This wouldn't’t be democratic.
  • 20. Theories Theories • Barker and Petley – There is an obsession with trying to prove that the media are responsible for a range of social problems and the researchers who want to find this link carry on without any evidence. • Hypodermic Syringe – Views audience as passive recipients of injected media messages – largely rejected • Desensitisation – The idea that the more violence we see, the less shocked we are by it in real life • Uses and gratification theory – What people do with media to satisfy certain needs • Post modernism – Looks at how boundaries between reality and media have been blurred. • Gauntlett – Argues that web 2.0 media erodes boundaries between producer and audience – media 2.0
  • 21. More Theoretical Perspectives • The Byron Review 2008 - Government Commissioned there is no evidence of ‘desensitisation’ from playing video games; idea of games as addictive is based on prejudice. 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 crucial. Dr. Tanya Byron. • Douglas Gentile - Media Effects Researcher. Offers a range of scientific ‘proof’ that antisocial and dangerous behaviour 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, middle-aged audience. • O Davey – Critic Violence plays a vital part in all our lives; it is often the catalyst for other emotions that lead to films being made that express these. Violence cannot be distinguished from film as we cannot distinguish violence from life. • Martin Barker - Media Effects Researcher. We need to see violence as it is part of real life and helps us to understand the world we live in. We are able to make a distinction between real and onscreen violence; it is the content, not the amount of violence that matters • Owen Jones –Political commentator – We need to challenge the way the media has been monopolized by the small number of oligarchs – we should restrict ownership so you can only have 1 outlet per owner.