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A2: Contemporary Media Regulation April 29, 2010

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Here’s this week’s Prezi which you can now use as revision:

http://prezi.com/qya1beeoui8b/

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Banned by youtube April 28, 2010

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This is a new one. You hear about videos being banned by MTV, or being shown after the watershed only, but you rarely hear about youtube banning videos outright. But after watching MIA’s video for her new single Born Free you may understand why.

The video depicts a group of ginger adolescents being rounded up into an armour-protected van, driven to the country and either shot or made to run through a minefield. Not exactly Universal viewing. A spokesman for youtube said that “the rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. If the content breaks our terms then we remove it and if a user repeatedly breaks the rules we disable their account.”

Take a look and think about what kind of messages you think this video is trying to convey and whether youtube was right to make their decision. But BE WARNED: some of the images are rather disturbing.

April 27, 2010

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You lot know how much I love South Park, and how wonderful for me that they’ve recently got themselves into a bit of trouble meaning that I get to discuss the show on the blog.

South Park reached it’s 200th episode recently, and to celebrate they brought back some of their most famous and controversial storylines, including multiple references to Tom Cruise being a fudge packer (in all literal sense of the term) as well as the welcome return of Jennifer Lopez, one of my favourite characters.

But what’s got them into trouble is their depiction of the prophet Muhammad dressed in a bear costume. So incensed were a group of New York extremist Muslim activists that they stated on their website Revolutionmuslim.com that the shows creators could end up like Theo van Gogh, a director who was murdered by Muslim radicals in 2004 for his depiction of Muslim women in a short film.

Surprisingly, the creators of South Park took the threats seriously, and in the second part of the two part episode, all audio and visual references to Muhammad were bleeped out. There’s a fantastic write up on the Guardian website which is worth a read.

The episode raises a number of issues with regards to regulation. A number of other Gods were depicted in the show and nobody complained. Should the creators have bowed to the censors? Should the authorities be taking action against those who made the death threats?

AS: In Bruges Case Study April 23, 2010

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Here’s the second case study we looked at together: http://prezi.com/jerybrgbxecv/

Case study: Avatar April 22, 2010

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Here’s te link to download the Prezi on Avatar: http://prezi.com/osdpo2l-vgtn/

Postmodern Media – and yes, it’s the Gaga again April 15, 2010

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Check out the clip below for a great example of postmodernism in practice. You’ve got the original track which has been covered and posted on the web. You’ve then got someone else doing some very careful editing to create almost a parody of the parodies. Plus it’s always funny watching people to attempt a cover on youtube. Look out for the whistler at the 1.40 mark. Soon to be hitting your screens in the next episode of Britain’s Got Talent…

The Digital Economy Bill – a new law to get your head around April 11, 2010

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Rushed through Parliament last week was the highly controversial Digital Economy Bill which has now been made law after a mere two hours of debate in central government which was a bit naughty. The Bill means that your Internet Service Provider will supply the music and film industries with information about everything you’ve downloaded and then seek a court order to cut off your internet connection. Have a gander at the following video clip from Mark Thomas which explains it all.

Considering that the Government were advised by the media industry who exclaimed that they were losing millions due to illegal file sharing, one has to wonder whose interests the Government are acting in. Considering that 100 years ago the film and music industries did not exist (nor did the billions of pounds in profit they’ve been making), surely they should be embracing change rather than challenging it? Would Lily Allen have made it to number one without her myspace website? Could the Blair Witch Project have ever made it to the silver screen without its viral advertising campaigns? Bearing in mind that last year saw the release of the 4th biggest grossing movie of all time (The Dark Knight), surely this is an indication that illegal file sharing isn’t as damaging as the industry are making out.

But then again what would I know? I’m only a media studies teacher. Let’s leave the decision in the hands of the 60 year old never-had-a-facebook-profile-in-their-lives politicians.

The onslaught has begun April 11, 2010

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Perfectly timed for your exams this year is the general election, an event which manipulates the media to its full effect with an onsluaght of spin, all carefully designed to confuse the hell out of you prior to election day. Despite the fact that some of you may not be old enough to vote, the election has untold relevence to media studies. I’ve already discussed The Sun’s switch to supporting the conservatives on this blog, and the fact that the Conservatives are wanting to move towards scrapping the license fee means that Rupert Murdoch’s News International Group is set to become even more powerful should the Tories win.

But back to my reasons for this post. Last week whilst enjoying my run on the Welly road I was bombarded with a number of billboards which informed me how Gordon Brown has effectively screwed the country over. Case in point below.

Another of these posters informs us that Brown was responsible for the rise in youth unemployment. Hold on one second, wasn’t youth unemployment caused by greedy banking institutions borrowing money left right and centre which eventually led to one of the biggest recessions the world has ever seen? Or was that Brown’s fault? Either way, rather than insist on a very public slanging match, how’s about letting us, the general public, hear about some of your policies?

The first rule of advertising is to sell your product. What these adverts do is merely criticise other products out there on the market with unsubstantiated claims. Had a commercial advertiser pulled the same trick, I am sure that the ASA would have something to say about it.

Next up on their election trail is this plonker:

This is Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary for the Tories, who got himself in trouble recently when he stated that B&B owners should be able to turn away gay customers, which, according to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 is illegal. Put it this way, it’s like a politician saying that B&B owners can turn away black customers if they so wish.

Naturally, gay voters are now calling for Grayling to be sacked, and this weekend organised a FlashMob outside the Conservative HQ. Quick to act, the Tories have released  a whole pledge of promises to say that they will “consider” the concept of gay marriage and also tackle homophobic bullying in schools. Good job that. I mean, who else could tackle homophobic bullying better than a bunch of Eton educated homophobes who probably spent their teenage years being rogered senseless by other closet cases?

Please keep your eyes out for stories like these in the lead up to the election as they will really help your responses to exam questions.