Monday, February 7, 2011

Media Law and Policy: Lauren Mackey

Who influences the media? When I started this case study I thought that my end result would be that our government controls the media. However, I did end up changing my view on this after some research. I believe that the FCC does have some control over what we see in the media, however their role is not as strong and clear cut as I would of thought. They are given some guidelines to bring order to the media in regards to obscenity and violence, but the guidelines are so vague that it often inhibits them as well. They don't have clear cut requirements and they base every decision off what is the society 'norm' so the guidelines are changing along with our society. They base their investigations largely on complaints they receive from the public, this plus the fact that the public establish society's norms lead me to lean more to the side of the public has a bigger role then the FCC on what we see on TV.
The first part of my presentation I will quickly discuss some media law and policy terms that pertain to my focus on the FCC and television media in regards to obscenity. It is important to know the difference between how obscenity is defined.
Next I will explain a little more background information on the FCC and what exactly their function is. As well as capture theory which is the fear the FCC protects the industry instead of the people watching TV. This is a major concern with the FCC and a problem they have been said to struggle with. Linking the FCC is what I will do next explaining the criteria for deciding if something is considered obscene or not and the distinction between obscene and indecency, which is protected by the 1st Amendment, obscenity is not though.
I will then go into my two examples of questionable TV shows out right now. The classic example being South Park and their long list of complaints by viewers to the FCC. Then I will talk about the new MTV show Skins, which is getting a lot of heat from concerned parents.
Rounding up the presentation I will show that their are two sides to every argument with the teens versus parents in relation to the show Skins and show the audience how they can have their voice heard by the FCC.
My questions for thought will be asking the class how they think the FCC is doing based on what they see on TV, and if they would ever consider filing a complaint themselves.

1 comment:

laurenmackey said...

The question that ended my slide show and was presented to the class was: Do you think that the creators of shows such as South Park/Skins should be held more accountable by the FCC for the material they put on their shows? I think that the class responded that while they didn't have a strong distaste for certain shows specifically they did think that some shows could get out of line and that it was the public's as well as the FCC to control what we see on TV and maybe they can be a little lax sometimes when it comes to late night TV shows like South Park.
As for who controls the media, I think the FCC has the ultimate decision when it comes to pursuing a specific claim against a TV show... however it is our public opinion that shapes how they operate and what is deemed a 'normal' society view. With that said, the FCC can take cases to the Department of Justice to bring criminal prosecutions for the broadcasting of obscene or profane material resulting in jail time or a fine. A lot of people at different levels of our society and government control our media in my mind.