Are we influenced by TV and film? Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 2 September 2017

Are we influenced by TV and film?

Censorship of the media allows either the government or a governmentally appointed department the right to dictate to individuals what they are allowed to view. In a democratic society, personal freedom is of paramount importance and therefore we should have the right watch what ever we want. But, the most vulnerable in society, for example young children need to be protected, and consideration must be given to the feelings and sensitivities of minority groups, for example racially motivated violence or hatred. It is only though legislation that society is able to ensure that the vulnerable are protected.

Censorship of television, film and videos allows our children to be shielded from unsuitable material, including bad language, sex and violence. All societies have some form of censorship or control over the media. Although there will always be differences of opinion on what is suitable or acceptable, the issue is who do we allow to control media output and how do they do this. Every film and TV programme that is going to be shown at the cinema or released on video or DVD must be classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).

The BBFC was formed in 1913 and they view each film prior to release and give it a certificate. They decide on a classification for each film depending upon the content in terms of language, sex, violence, morality, and horror. The government can also put restrictions on any broadcast that reveals information on their work that may jeopardise the security of the country, under the Official Secrets Act. They can also stop publication of anything that could raise racial conflict, under the Public Order Act, and can use the ‘D’ notice to contain any information that may not be in the public interest to divulge.

Mary Whitehouse was a leading campaigner in the fight to censor violence on television. On the 5th May 1964, she said, ‘If violence is shown as normal on the television screen, it will help to create a violent society’, and believed that the unprecedented levels of social and criminal violence in western society was caused by the saturation of violent crime on television. In 1963 she launched a ‘Clean-Up TV Campaign’, and obtained half a million signatures on a petition, which she presented to the Governors of the BBC.

This had little effect, so in 1965 she co-founded the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association who attempted to pressurise the Broadcasting Authorities into improving public accountability on policies of taste and decency. The association also put pressure on governments to establish an Independent Broadcasting Council, but it was not until 1989 that the Broadcasting Standards Council was formed but because it was, and still is, an advisory body it had little impact on the standards of programmes.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 2 September 2017

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