Don’t you think that it’s slightly unfair that a select group of individuals are able to dictate what the rest of the country are able to view, in terms of media? Some may agree and believe that it is unfair; but nevertheless, media regulation is in practice to help. For example, you may hear of a film that has been banned in Australia because it was deemed too offensive, this is an instance of media regulation. Regulation and censorship of films and media impact the space and place that an individual can experience them; this sparks some controversy.
We are governed by a set of regulations that dictate what we can see through the media, these reasons for regulation include:
- “Prevent copycat behavior”, in place so that individuals do not copy what they see through the media and bring harm to themselves.
- “Protect children and adults from material likely to offend or disturb”, the classifications board categorizes films and television programs based on whether they are appropriate or not for different audiences, or whether they should be shown in Australia at all.
- In order to “Protect cultural identity” in Australia, the certain number of foreign and local films and television programs are monitored.
- “Preserve media diversity”, ownership and control of media organizations is monitored and restricted to allow for diversity.
Some may believe that it is not right for someone else to deem what is right for another, but media restrictions are in practice to protect and help society. An example of a film that was banned from being shown in Australia was The Human Centipede II (full sequence), it was banned from Australian viewing (without substantial cuts and editing); reasons for banning the films were, “as the level of depictions of violence in the film has an impact which is very high”.
Human Centipede films, specifically the second and third films, caused extreme anxiety over releases, at least not without cuts and edits to the films. Anxieties occurred over the specific release of Human Centipede II (full sequence) due to “copycat behaviour”, and use of offensive cruel behaviour due to the crude nature of the film. In relation to the film being banned, it has had an impact to do with the type of space and place that the film is presented. Space and place implying that you couldn’t view the full sequence in the cinemas, or rent it from the video shop, or even watch it over legal Internet streaming sites such as Netflix or Stan. The place and space that the film was required to morph into was overall generally illegal downloading online, or even bringing a copy of the film back from over seas. But for some, people believe that they should have the rights or even have the choice to view and consume media that their own disposal, or al least decide for themselves what they feel is right for them.
In most cases, I believe people would agree with the general media regulations; such as the classifications of films so that you know what to expect in terms of themes, and the diversification of media organisations to allow for alternate perspectives; these are affective regulations because we are still given a choice in the matter of viewing. But when told what we can and cannot watch, especially considering that it relates to the quality of the experience in the sense of space and place of the film, many do not agree with that form of censorship on what should be use of free speech. Overall, the space and place that media (especially films) is experienced impacts the medias quality and the individuals freedom of choice.
Lamb, 2013, Australian Media Regulation, Available From: < http://lessonbucket.com/media-in-minutes/australian-media-regulation/ > [Viewed 30th September 2016]
SBS Film, 2011, A review by Australia’s censors means the horror film won’t get a release in Australia without substantial cuts, Available From:
< http://www.sbs.com.au/movies/article/2011/11/29/human-centipede-sequel-banned-oz > [Viewed 30th September 2016]
Australian Law Reform Commission, 2012, One size fits all? Classifying media in the digital age, Available From: < http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue108/10613 > [Viewed 30th September 2016]