Censorship & regulation ocr


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Censorship & regulation ocr

  1. 2. <ul><li>Media Regulation: Debates and Perspectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Richard Berger. </li></ul><ul><li>The Centre for Excellence in Media Practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Bournemouth University. </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>Historically, from the 1909 Cinematograph Act onwards, censorship in the UK has been medium specific . </li></ul><ul><li>The internet and new media has changed that. </li></ul><ul><li>Harder to regulate the internet – global nature etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Differences in US and UK law regarding ‘impartiality’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In Sweden it’s not an offence to possess what in the UK would be deemed unlawful child pornography. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Move towards self-censorship/regulation. </li></ul><ul><li>BBC guidelines for its online writers: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Swearing is not big and it’s not clever, so avoid it as much as possible. If it’s in a quote, always star the following: c**t, f**k, w**k, F**ing and w**ker. If you really have to be foul mouthed, these words can be written in full: shit, bastard, bollocks, arsehole, twat, piss, sodding etc (eg, “He’s a c**t, that bastard.”). Obviously all slurs on race and minorities are a complete no-no.” </li></ul><ul><li>  From BBCi’s Style Guide for writers and journalists (Sept 2005). </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>The Broadcasting Standards Commission (later replaced by Ofcom) even rated swear words in 2002; </li></ul><ul><li>1.    C**t 11. Shag. 21. Bugger. </li></ul><ul><li>2.    Motherf****r 12. Whore. 22. Balls. </li></ul><ul><li>3.    F**k 13. Twat. 23. Jew. </li></ul><ul><li>4.    W****r 14. Piss Off. 24. Sodding. </li></ul><ul><li>5.    N****r 15. Spastic. 25. Jesus Christ. </li></ul><ul><li>6.    Bastard 16. Slag. 26. Crap. </li></ul><ul><li>7.    Prick 17. S**t. 27. Bloody. </li></ul><ul><li>8.    Bollocks 18. Dickhead. 28. God. </li></ul><ul><li>9.    A***hole 19. P****d Off. </li></ul><ul><li>10.  P**i 20. Arse. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>The coalescence of media regulation began in 2003 with the creation of Ofcom. </li></ul><ul><li>Before Ofcom, all UK media was regulated by; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ITC – Independent Television Commission. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OfTel – Telecommunications Regulator. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BSC – Broadcasting Standards Commission. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RA – Radio Authority. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OFT – Office of Fair Trading. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BBFC – British Board of Film Classification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>So, Main problem is that the internet circumnavigates other media, and the laws that surround and regulate them. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The internet can result in pre-trial prejudice, and contempt of court. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some national/local events do have widespread international appeal. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.thesmokinggun.com/doc_o_day/doc_o_day.html </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now with global 24 hour rolling news, it’s even harder – many people can get the BBC, and Al-jazerra. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Another problem with medium specific media regulation are the ‘media effects’ debate which trawl in their wake. </li></ul><ul><li>Media effects debate is as old as cinema/television. </li></ul><ul><li>Many studies to prove links between violence on screen, and violence in society. </li></ul><ul><li>Most media effects models based on media’s perceived influence over children. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Problems with Media Effects . </li></ul><ul><li>In Moving Experiences (2005) David Gauntlett argues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model tackles social problems backwards. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model treats children as inadequate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumptions within the effects model are characterised by barely-concealed conservative ideology . </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Problems with Media Effects . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model inadequately defines its own objects of study. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model is often based on artificial elements and assumptions within studies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model is often based on studies with misapplied methodology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model is selective in its criticisms of media depictions of violence. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Problems with Media Effects . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model assumes superiority to the masses. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model makes no attempt to understand meanings of the media. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effects model is not grounded in theory. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gauntlett, D., 2005. Moving Experiences . Eastleigh: John Libbey. pp 143-151. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>Does media effect? </li></ul><ul><li>Censors often act in self-serving ways – political. </li></ul><ul><li>Effects model easy to demolish. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e easy to see conservative ideology, highlighted by David Gauntlett. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The popular media can start a news spiral that creates a ‘folk devil.’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e Child’s Play 3 , Crash , etc. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>Films, and increasingly videogames, are still being blamed for violence in society: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech shootings – April 16 th 2007. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 fellow students, and himself. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He sent a video and photographs of himself threatening the massacre to NBC news, the previous day. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some newspapers blamed the film OldBoy ( Park Chan-Wook, 2003). </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>However, the BBFC’s steady liberalisation since the late 1990s, and the creation of Ofcom has led to more emphasis on ‘self-regulation.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Regulation should now be in the hands of the individuals/parents, not institutions. </li></ul><ul><li>Contradiction? </li></ul><ul><li>Due to the relatively unregulated internet? </li></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>Online Regulation . </li></ul><ul><li>In 1998 the Culture, Media & Sport select committee set up an enquiry into online regulation . They reported: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Existing broadcasting legislation wouldn’t work, but, new regulation wasn’t viable because: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems of access . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet/Cyberspace is seen to be integral to economic growth. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International medium requires International law. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>More self regulation - f ocus on ‘end-users’ </li></ul><ul><li>There are lots of Interest Group sites, such as Women Halting Online Abuse , or the Cyberangels net patrol group. </li></ul><ul><li>ISPs drawing-up codes of practice and many are doing so, eg AOL and FreeServe . </li></ul><ul><li>Members and subscribers must obey the rules, or be disconnected – ‘3-strikes’. </li></ul>
  16. 18. <ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1990s, Rupert Murdoch removed the BBC’s World Service Television channel from his Star satellite system. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Murdoch wanted to tap in to new lucrative Chinese markets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The BBC had been critical of Chinese human rights policy in the wake of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. <ul><li>Google & China . </li></ul><ul><li>On the 25 th January 2006 the search engine Google introduced a system of self-censorship for its Chinese version. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, if you use www.google.co.uk for an image search of ‘Tiananmen Square,’ you get… </li></ul>
  18. 22. <ul><li>In February 2010, Google accused China of hacking its service and announced it was pulling out. </li></ul><ul><li>Further sourced relationships between China and the new administration in the US. </li></ul><ul><li>So, despite people such as John Gilmore arguing that the, “ Internet treats censorship like damage, it routes around it,” it is heavily censored by nation states. </li></ul>
  19. 23. <ul><li>So, despite the UK being the most heavily regulated nation state in Europe, current content regulation is being increasingly subverted. </li></ul><ul><li>This is largely due to the internet, which transcends national boundaries, political institutions and content legislation . </li></ul><ul><li>A great deal of controversial content can be found online. </li></ul>
  20. 24. <ul><li>Hate sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.rotten.com (Grim images. A lot of it is faked). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.yourgoingtohell.com / (Right wing religious hate-site). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.rahowa.com (White supremacist site calling for a ‘Racial Holy War’). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.newamericancentury.org / (Organisation dedicated to America ruling the entire world!). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.narth.com (USA based National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality). </li></ul></ul>
  21. 25. <ul><ul><li>www.moralityinmedia.org (Right-wing media watch site). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.afa.net / (American Family Association). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.newnation.org / (Racist site, mostly focusing on immigration).  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.godhatesfags.com (Reverend Fred Phelps’ site) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.wakeupordie.com (Californian Elena Haskins’ racist website). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// www.skrewdriver.net / (Combat 18’s website). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.av1611.org/crock.html (Christian site denouncing contemporary music as evil) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 26. <ul><li>The future of film and television . </li></ul><ul><li>BBFC’s research has found that audiences are concerned about violence and drug-taking, rather than sex. </li></ul><ul><li>Now, more films being passed at ’18’ certificate featuring explicit sexual scenes. </li></ul><ul><li>Ai No Corrida (Oshima, 1976) was suddenly passed at ’18’ certificate for video in the late 90s. </li></ul>
  23. 27. <ul><li>The Pornographer (Bonello, 2001) was passed at ’18’ certificate, but a 6-second scene of ejaculation was cut. </li></ul><ul><li>Academic and anti-censorship campaigner, Linda Williams (University of Southampton) argued that this was ridiculous. </li></ul><ul><li>A few years later, 9 Songs (Winterbottom, 2005) was passed at ’18’ uncut for cinema and video exhibition. </li></ul>
  24. 28. <ul><li>So, what happens online, impacts what other content providers do – it’s all connected. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Channel 4 plan to ‘test’ Ofcom’s power by showing the film- probably on its More4 digital channel. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This will hugely impact upon television censorship. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adult digital channels will probably feel that they can show more ‘hardcore’ material – only currently available at ‘R18’ certificates from licensed premises. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 29. <ul><li>Shortbus . </li></ul><ul><li>In 2007, Shortbus (John Cameron Mitchell) was released uncut on DVD in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>The film contains some of the most sexually explicit content ever seen, and was notable for its graphic depiction of heterosexual and homosexual sex. </li></ul>
  26. 30. <ul><li>So, can the BBFC survive, if content it deems unacceptable is available online? </li></ul><ul><li>Will Ofcom replace it eventually? </li></ul><ul><li>Or, will regulation shift subtly towards information and education? </li></ul>
  27. 31. <ul><li>Political Impact . </li></ul><ul><li>On the 30 th December 2006, at 6am in North Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was hanged. </li></ul><ul><li>Silent images showing the moments leading up to the execution were released from official sources within minutes. </li></ul><ul><li>The footage showed a composed Saddam, seemingly accepting his fate. </li></ul>
  28. 32. <ul><li>However, within hours, footage showing the actual execution, filmed on a mobile phone, was released on the internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Also shown on the Middle East news channel Al Jazeera. </li></ul><ul><li>It was later broadcast (almost) in its entirety on television news. </li></ul><ul><li>Showed Saddam being taunted. </li></ul>
  29. 33. <ul><li>This caused a problem for the UK government, who had helped to remove Saddam’s regime, but was opposed to the death penalty. </li></ul><ul><li>The BBC’s John Simpson called the event no more than a ‘public execution.’ </li></ul><ul><li>In the following days, Deputy PM John Precott and Chancellor Gordon Brown condemned the execution. </li></ul><ul><li>An embarrassed Prime Minister, Tony Blair, gave a muted response a few weeks later. </li></ul>
  30. 34. <ul><li>The same debates regarding censorship have been in circulation throughout history. </li></ul><ul><li>Successive UK Governments have attempted to control and regulate media. </li></ul>
  31. 35. <ul><li>However, it is new forms of interactive media which will cause concern for the censors of the future. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the ‘domestic space’ – like TV/VCR/DVD. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular with children/young people. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of ‘interactivity’ makes these texts potentially more harmful/influential? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Voluntary code of classification – at the moment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not subject to the 1984 VRA. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videogames have been linked, by right-wing press, to violence e.g Doom and the Columbine massacre. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videogames become more ‘real.’ </li></ul></ul>
  32. 36. <ul><li>The current videogame debate is the same as the ‘video nasty’ debate in the 1980s. </li></ul><ul><li>So… </li></ul><ul><li>censorship and regulation will not decline. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite recent changes, the UK is still the most heavily regulated nation in Europe. </li></ul>
  33. 37. <ul><li>Future content regulation will focus more on videogames and interactive media. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation will probably be needed to combat the increasing fluidity between different – and differently regulated – media platforms. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] . </li></ul><ul><li>March 2010. </li></ul>