Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A level 4 essay must. . .

  1. Must show obvious knowledge of contemporary policy (BBFC, PCC, the law, government intervention)
  2. Must include some academic media theory (audience, media effects, children and protection, research, academic quotes)
  3. Must debate and discussion of the relevant social issues (issues of protection of society, freedom v responsibility, globalisation, the rise of the celebrity, the notion of privacy, web 2.0)
  4. Must be aware of current relevant developments (The Byron report, privacy and celebrity issues April 2011, The Digital Economies Act, Web 2.0 and implications, the rise of the citizen journalism and its impact on politics, culture and society)
  5. Must utilise well chosen examples
  6. Must make reference to the past 
  7. Must predict ahead 
  8. Must adapt learning to the chosen question
  9. Must have equal balance between film and press

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 2011: Gagging orders and super-injunctions - what are the implications?

Read here about the recent controversies over privacy law and celebrity scandals

Citizen Journalism examples: 2009

Read this article on The Hudson River plane crash 2009 and Twitter

Read this article about the Iranian uprising of 2009, the death of protestor Neda Soltani and Youtube

The Byron Report

The Byron Report - background

The Byron Report summary

10 things wrong with the Effects Model - David Gauntlett

1. The effects model tackles social problems 'backwards'
2. The effects model treats children as inadequate
3. Assumptions within the effects model are characterised by barely-concealed conservative ideology
4. The effects model inadequately defines its own objects of study
5. The effects model is often based on artificial elements and assumptions within studies
6. The effects model is often based on studies with misapplied methodology
7. The effects model is selective in its criticisms of media depictions of violence
8. The effects model assumes superiority to the masses
9. The effects model makes no attempt to understand meanings of the media
10. The effects model is not grounded in theory

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to . . . prepare a decent essay

This powerpoint offers some guidance to get you started on your essays:

The 4 topic prompts - The Press

The film version of this powerpoint was posted in Week 3: here is the press version to help you with your essay preparations:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pain, Privacy and the Press Pack

This suggests that journalists are so keen to cover the story that they forget their responsibilities to the public.

There is a lot of competition and pressure from the recession.

The number of complaints to the PCC were low, yet large communities were upset - this suggests people were not aware of the service on offer by the PCC and that it is very difficult to pin down the specific evidence needed to bring a case.

It also raises the issue that after the event, the damage is done and the public are therefore resigned to the situation and feel nothing can be done.

A new compact between press and public - The Middle East

This article raises the point that the news media are working with citizen journalists (immediacy, eye-witness accounts) in order to maintain their audiences and remain current. Bloggers and Tweeters cannot present the news on their own - it is down to journalists to maintain professional standards, and to maintain consistency. This is the new journalism. By posting/blogging on regulated sites, bloggers are protected by professional standards.

Tibet, Lies and Videotape

Background: the Chinese authorities have a poor record on human rights and continue to restrict their citizen's access to blogging sites, Wikipedia, Youtube and Facebook.

Tibetan uprising in 2008 - push for freedom and independence from Chinese rule. China didn't want bad press about the uprising so supressed stories by banning the media. This was the Olympic year so a lot of interest.

Western Media reports were as a result predominantly anti-Chinese government. Chinese bloggers responded by hitting out at the Western Media for promoting inaccurate accountsof what went on, saying it created a simplified view that the authorities were violent towards protestors and the protestors were innocent Tibetan monks. This is ironic as China doesn't allow blogging, yet the bloggers were their own Citizens supporting them.

The Free Tibet campaign was promoted through FB, 100,000 signed up. 3 million people watched youtube videos about the protest. Hollywood stars got involved. The BBC put out an article saying there were significant challenges in dealing with the issue, considering the block on the Media.

Raises questions about the power of the Western Media. The bloggers have made the BBC and CNN rethink their approach to reporting on global issues, so have in effect promoted a more democratised media, by challenging the accepted norm.

Relevance for the exam: difficult to police this kind of debate online, yet really powerful because it was driven by the people.  This issue went viral and it wasn't possible to regulate who said what. The internet has enabled the world to see both sides of the argument. Audiences are being encouraged to question the dominant media and think for themselves about where they stand on the issue. Brings up wider issues about the relevance of regulation and the impact/role of the citizen journalist.

Case study: The McCanns

Read this article -which explains how the McCanns won their libel case against the Express Group

The McCann Case - what issues does it raise

The article shows how the papers routinely edit and select material in order to present a particular viewpoint, and how easy it is to create a perception of someone in the eyes of the public. If that perception is misleading or inaccurate, this can do untold damage (think Max Mosely too) and it is difficult for anything to undo this peception, once the damage is done.

The McCann's chose to take the legal route and didn't go to the PCC at all. Perhaps they believed the PCC couldn't help them. Certainly, on a the question of taste and decency, there would have been nothing they could do. They could have ruled on the issue of defamation (libel) but would only have achieved an apology. Damages seem more suited to such a serious case, involving over 100 articles.

With freedom comes responsibility - this case arguably undermines the notion that the press is largely responsible and that self-regulation is enough to keep the balance in check.


This article explains the history of the press regulation in the UK, and raises some of the relevant issues:

History of UK Press regulation

Here is a timeline of changes and developments in the guidelines:

Here is a summary of the history of the PCC:

Historical case study example 1:

Princess Diana case study background: read this article

For further information, have a look at these links:

In the late 1980s there was concern about press intrusion. Two cases in particular caused outrage.

Historical case study example 2: A long lens was used to take photos of TV presenter Russell Harty as he lay dying in his hospital bed in 1988; 

and the Sunday Sport published photos and an alleged interview with actor Gordon Kaye as he was recovering from brain surgery following a serious car accident in 1990.

Historical case study example 3: GORDON KAYE v THE SUNDAY SPORT

In 1990, the Allo Allo actor, Gorden Kaye, was photographed in hospital by two Sunday Sport journalists while he recovered from brain surgery. The reporter and photographer had disguised themselves as medical staff.
Kaye suffered serious head injuries in a car accident  on 25 January 1990. Although he cannot remember any details of the incident, he still has a scar on his forehead from a piece of wooden advertising boarding that smashed through the car windscreen. While recovering in hospital from emergency brain surgery to treat injuries sustained in the accident, Kaye was photographed and interviewed by Sunday Sport journalist Roger Ordish. He sued the Sunday Sport, but the British Court of Appeal held that his privacy had not been invaded — a decision once said to be the low point of British privacy law.

Mr Justice Eady was strongly influenced by the absence of any legal protection against publication for Mr Kaye, saying that there was "a serious gap in the jurisprudence of any civilised society, if such a gross intrusion could happen without redress."

Mr Justice Eady, the most senior libel judge in England and Wales, sat on the Calcutt committee in 1990 which considered the introduction of a privacy law. He was in favour of a law, but journalists opposed it. The law was never introduced, but the Human Rights Act, which came into force in 2000, enshrined a right to privacy under Article 8. Legal observers say that that Mr Justice Eady believes the law must apply the Act and weigh the rights to privacy against freedom of expression.

Gordon Kaye in 'Allo Allo'

PCC Evolution

PCC Teacher's Resource Pack

Historical film examples


From the BBFC talk
Billy the Kid
The Dam Busters
The Life of Brian

From Aminatta Forna’s documentary
The Birth of the Nation
Straw Dogs
Romper Stomper
Perdita Durango

From Mark Kermode’s documentary
I Spit on your Grave
Breaking the Waves
Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer

From the DVD documentary clips
A Fool there Was
Battleship Potemkin
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
The Seashell and the Clergyman
Love on the Dole
Pastor Hall
Night and fog
Brighton Rock
The Wild One
Yield to the Night
The Room at the Top
The L-shaped room
Women in Love
The Devils
Straw Dogs
Clockwork Orange
The Exorcist
Evil Dead
Driller Killer
Cannibal Holocaust
The Karma Sutra
The Lover’s Guide
Child’s Play 3
Natural Born Killers
Boy Meets Girl
Pulp Fiction
Reservoir Dogs
The Last House on the Left

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Media

We Media Democracy and Convergence

Media and the McCanns


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homework 8: w/b 28th March

Task: Prepare your Case studies (Film and Press)
Deadline: 13C and 13D by the lesson on Weds 6th April

1. Using the chart templates provided, work out the case studies that you plan to refer to in the exam, and list them in the spaces provided on the chart.

For film, you will need to complete numbers 1,3,4,5,6 only.
For press, you will need to complete numbers . . . only

You will need to go back over all your notes to make sure you have considered all the films/cases discussed in class, and are making the best selection possible.

Make sure you keep your chart safe and bring it with you to Wednesday's lesson.

2. Creat a post for each case study. Use the film's title as the post header. Post the following:

a) brief factual notes about the film or case, including date and director
b) what points/ issues/ arguments you can illustrate by using it
c) which section of a regulation essay would it be relevant to

Here are the case study charts:

Case studies revision chart - Film Regulation

Case studies revision chart Press Regulation

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tibet, Lies and Videotape

Tibet, Lies and Videotape

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Homework 6/7: w/b 14th March

History of the BBFC and Film regulation

13C - Weds 30th March
13D - Tues 29th March

For the exam, you need to be able to compare the BBFC and the film classification process to that of the past.

1. Read pp 4-25 in the BBFC student guide.
2. There is a more interesting way of looking at the same material (with pictures!) here
3. Create 7 posts, one to illustrate each time period in the history of the BBFC:
  • 1912-49
  • 1950s
  • 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
4. For each post/decade you will need brief notes on:
i. Important developments at the Board
ii. Important developments to the system of film regulation
iii. Any legal developments and their impact on the way films were being regulated at the time
iv. Wider social/ political/cultural issues of the decade
v. 1 or 2 examples of key films from the time period and the issues they raised

5. In a final post, sum up in no more than 5 bullet points how the Board and the process of film classification is different now to that of the past

Week 6 Lessons

Different types of media research:

1. Media effects research (aims to 'prove' the negative effect of the media)
2. Academic or qualitative research (explores the nature of the relationship between the media and the audience, eg consideration of why a particular programme is popular)
3. Market research or quantitative research (audience habits, box office, ratings, website hits, tracking)

Effects research explores the following so-called effects:

Behavioural - aggression, crime
Psychological - fear of danger + crime, nightmares
Attitudinal - desensitisation, attitudes towards others

Which social groups are the most frequent subjects of a media effects study? 
Young males
Youth criminals

Which media forms are most likely to be considered problematic? 
Video games
Rap lyrics
Television programmes

What methods are commonly used to study effects?
Heart monitors
Monitoring over long periods of time
Exposure to violent acts
Discourse (1 to 1 or focus group)

Concerns over this kind of research?

Here is the powerpoint on Media Effects research:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

W/b 7 March (Week 5) Homework

1. Post a paragraph on each of the seminars attended this week; identify in what way they were useful, what you learnt, and anything that you felt was unexpected and/or surprising.

2. Read all 8 PCC cases in the case studies booklet in your folder. Using the 3 questions on the booklet's cover page as a guide, decide whether you think the complaint was upheld or not. Make notes to support your decision. We will then discuss these in class.

13C Thurs 17th March by the lesson
13D  Fri 18th March by the lesson

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some useful links/articles

The Press Complaints Commission

Articles about regulation and the press: Media Watch website
PCC in the 21st Century
Stephen Hill, MediaMagazine 24, April 2008, NMT special, New online September 2008, Regulation, Privacy, Guidelines, PCC

Citizen Journalism article (Emily Bell in The Guardian 25 Feb 2011)

The Impact of Digital Media (Jeremy Orlebar article 22 Sept 2009)

Democratisation of the Media article (Jeremy Orlebar: We Media, Democracy and Convergence May 12 2010)

The Image!

PCC: The New Code of Practice

New Code of Practice 2011

Media Magazine February 11

Press Regulation Magazine Edit

Homework; w/b 28th February

1. Make notes on the PCC, using the Teacher Guide you have been given. You will need brief notes on the pages 3 - 10. Use the headings from the booklet to help break your notes up. You can complete this work as one or several posts - it's up to you. Post title: The Press Complaints Commission

2. Create a separate post entitled The PCC Code of Practice. List the 16 clauses and identify any other relevant/wider points about the code as discussed in the lesson or explained in the booklet pp 21 - 23.

Deadline: Wednesday 9 March (I will check your blogs Weds evening) 

Please note: although we won't have a lesson on Wednesday due to the trip, there will be a homework set on that day - please make sure you look at the blog.




Monday, January 31, 2011

'18' guidelines

• where the material is in breach of the criminal law, or has been created through the commission of a criminal offence

• where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society – for example, any detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals.This may include portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault

• where there are more explicit images of sexual activity which cannot be justified by context. Such images may be appropriate in ‘R18’ works, and in ‘sex works’ (see below) would normally be confined to that category.

In the case of video works (including video games), which may be more accessible to younger viewers, intervention may be more frequent than for cinema films.

Sex education at ‘18’
Where sex material genuinely seeks to inform and educate in matters such as human sexuality, safer sex and health, explicit images of sexual activity may be permitted.

Sex works at ‘18’
Sex works are works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation. Sex works containing only material which may be simulated are generally passed ‘18’. Sex works containing clear images of real sex, strong fetish material, sexually explicit animated images, or other very strong sexual images will be confined to the ‘R18’ category. Material which is unacceptable in a sex work at ‘R18’ is also unacceptable in a sex work at ‘18’.

In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC’s public consultations and The Human Rights Act 1998, at ‘18’ the BBFC’s guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment. Exceptions are most likely in the following areas:

'15' guidelines

Drug taking may be shown but the film as a whole must not promote or encourage drug misuse. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is unlikely to be acceptable.

Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.

Imitable behaviour
Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.

There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.

Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context.

Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable.

No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds.

Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification.


The work as a whole must not endorse discriminatory language or behaviour.


12A guidelines

Any misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised or give instructional detail.

Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.

Imitable behaviour
Dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied, or appear pain or harm free. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised.

Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent.

Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context must be brief and discreet.

Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable.

Mature themes are acceptable, but their treatment must be suitable for young teenagers.

Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification.


Discriminatory language or behaviour must not be endorsed by the work as a whole. Aggressive discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely
to be acceptable unless clearly condemned.


Have a go at classifying these films: what age rating would you give them and what are the issues?

Casino Royale (embed disabled)

Juno (Embed Disabled)

Thirteen (Embed Disabled)