Are we influenced by TV and film? Briefly discuss the evidence and arguments for and against censorship.
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Media and Ideology Q1. Are we influenced by TV and film? Briefly discuss the evidence and arguments for and against censorship. 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.
Discuss. The power of the media is not absolute and does not exist in isolation however it does have the influence to affect our way of thinking and consequently our actions. When we look at the concentration of the dominant few media companies, including Rupert Murdoch's News International Group, it becomes slightly worrying that these huge companies may have greater control on our beliefs and culture than we are aware of. These transnational companies are more powerful in economic and ideological terms than any other institutions. Most of the media, including television, the press, the Internet and satellite coverage is concentrated into the hands of just six companies' operating across the world. These are; The Walt Disney Corporation; Bertelsmann; Viacom; Vivendi Universal; AOL Time Warner; and News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation group owns the Times, Sunday Times, Sun, and News of the World newspapers, which are Britain's most popular newspapers. It owns over 100 national and regional newspapers in Australia, and Independent Newspapers of New Zealand. It also controls the satellite network Sky in the UK, Fox News and seven other news networks in the USA, Foxtel in Australia, Star TV in Asia, Phoenix and four other channels in China and News Corp broadcasts into India, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Latin America and Europe. The huge cost involved in launching and sustaining a media company or national newspaper is one of the reasons why they are highly concentrated. For example when Eddy Shah introduced the Today newspaper, he spent £22.5 million in the first ten weeks before he run out of funds and was forced to sell it to Rupert Murdoch's company. The transnational companies are also able to protect their own interests by forcing other competitors out of business by undercutting their prices. They can if necessary take a temporary loss in one area of business and finance it from another, in effect giving them an almost monopolistic position. The media is said to entertain, educate, and inform in a neutral way.
Criticisms of these studies argue that too much emphasis was placed on the exotic groups and the majority of 'conformists' were ignored. They also point out that most of the rebellions quickly settled down to conventional lifestyles. Marxist theory has also influenced the analysis of youth subculture. Marx believed that cultures are produced by 'social conditions', which includes social class and age. The improvement in social conditions in Britain must therefore be a contributory factor in the demise of youth subculture. Most of the youths involved in subculture came from working class families and as Tony Blair has claimed that we are 'all middle class' now, this would be another reason why there has been no substantial youth culture in a decade. Youth subculture appears to be a thing of the past as we move into the twenty-first century. The diversity of style, taste, and cultures make it difficult for any single subculture to emerge as dominant in today's society. Youth culture is now so complicated, due to the changes in class structure, occupational structure, neighbourhoods, family life and leisure activities. It appears that identities are in a constant state of change, the ability of individuals to mix with several subculture groups is a normal behaviour pattern in today's society. Emphasis in postmodern society appears to be on style, enjoyment, excitement, travel, and self- confidence, self-belief and the ability to succeed. Postmodernism is the most recent social issue and is concerned with our consumption patterns rather than our beliefs and moral stances. Today we appear to be more concerned with consumer culture, our clothes, cars, homes, leisure activities, and holidays than the sharing of values with our neighbours and communities. This global culture has reduced us to selfish, shallow, consumerist and individualist behaviour. We are now united across the world, but not by a meaningful purpose such as world peace or removing third world poverty, it is by our spending desires and our collective failure to share any deep moral or social purpose.
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