Pros and Cons of Media Regulation For Assignment 2 you need to answer the question: ‘Regulation is no longer needed

to protect audiences’. This is effectively asking you to explore the pros and cons of media regulation. You can introduce this as a debating issue, putting it within the context of history and issues that you have found out about regulation in relation to broadcasting and, if you are journalism students, the print media over the past, e.g. 20-30 years. You may discuss concepts about business freedoms versus audience choice and the public’s right to know and freedom of expression as a concept, e.g. under the European Convention of Human Rights, versus people’s privacy and reputations. You should do two out of the three areas below: Broadcasting: You might note that broadcasting originates in the UK with what quickly became – in the 1920s - a monopoly public service broadcaster that lasted for about 30 years until the advent of ITV broadcasting in the late 1950s. The introduction of commercial TV was regulated by a legal framework which was later altered by Margaret Thatcher’s Broadcasting Act which de-regulated parts of ITV in 1990. All UK TV terrestrial broadcasters BBC, ITV, C4 and C5 has some public service media responsibilities, e.g. to run news broadcasts and create original programming. Check facts through research. Know the Broadcasting Act and the Communications Act 2003. Find some cases of forms of censorship being discussed, threatened or occurring, past (preferably recent past not the far past) or recently. Press: Research recent history, from PCC or before if keen. Most importantly, know the present context related to the run-up to Leveson and the issue/s that have come up since, e.g. Leveson’s proposal versus the latest proposal from government/newspaper editors and the responses of other voices involved in Leveson, e.g. Hacked Off and families of victims like the McCanns. You may also explore arguments about how libel and privacy laws are regarded as reducing freedom of expression. Find some cases of forms of censorship being discussed, threatened or occurring, past (preferably recent past not the far past) or recently. Film and other media regulation, including video games regulation: You need to cover the Obscene Publications Act and the BBFC relating to film classification. You might put this into context to some extent, e.g. in relation to BBFC moving away from the concept of film censorship towards film ‘classification’ and concerns about avoiding censorship… Find some cases of forms of censorship being discussed, threatened or occurring, past (preferably recent past not the far past) or recently. More specifics for your pros and cons: These need to address to some extent: 1. Ownership issues and whether we need protection because of the consequences of media conglomerates or monopolies being unaccountable

2. Access to a diversity of media products and consumer choice 3. Access to sources of funding for British talent 4. Freedom of expression 5. Censorship 6. Self-censorship 7. Ideas about ‘quality’ and ‘dumbing down’ of content being threatened when de-regulation takes place or is planned 8. Control – who makes the decisions about what is ‘quality’ and ‘tasteful’? Do elites decide these things and how accountable are they (e.g. BFI, BAFTA). 9. If you can, different political views about media regulation. For example, the Conservatives have planned to abolish Ofcom,.because of political beliefs that the individual should not be constrained by government in any form and their belief in ‘free markets’. 10. Other ideas that have occurred to you as a result of your research When discussing censorship and self-censorship find definitions and debates on these topics, with examples. Research discussions by film-makers, journalists, screenwriters, TV producers or directors. This censorship or self-censorship may be on political, legal, regulatory or other controversial grounds related to, say, sexuality or violence. After that try to think of ways in which censorship and self-censorship have or could apply to work you have planned or produced. E.g. relating to ‘truths’ about self and wider world; expression/self-expression via social media or programme-making or journalism/story-writing e.g. for college articles or blogging, or in the making of your own TV ad for an audience (in which case also take into account ASA codes – could content in your ad be at odds with these, e.g. the code covering TV). Remember not to assume that regulation e.g. of the press is a form of law. It is not. At the same regulation with legal backing does not mean that the regulator in such a context (Ofcom and broadcasting) controls the context of TV programmes.

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