Explain which forms of media regulation are most effective, which are not so, and your reasons for both.
- Past: In the past, before the increasing popularity of TVs in the 50s, films were only shown in cinemas and audiences had no other access to them. This means that the BBFC certificates were very effective as there was a physical gatekeeper who determined whether or not someone could view the film. When video games came out in the 50s, they were very basic and did not need regulating as the content was so simple.
- Introduce BBFC and PEGI – independent non governmental body
- Cinema regulation (Hate Crime): Most effective as needs a physical gate keeper who IDs people who aren’t obviously the age of the certificate. 12A screenings become less effective because it depends on parental judgement. For example, Hate Crime was refused a certificate because it was focused on the “terrorisation, mutilation, physical and sexual abuse” of a Jewish family as stated by the BBFC. The board felt that it would risk potential harm to viewers if given an adults only rating. This shows how effective cinema regulation is as the film cannot have a theatrical exhibition without a BBFC certificate and therefore wasn’t shown in British cinemas.
- Cinema regulation (The Woman in Black): The Woman in Black contained strong horror and was deemed too psychologically threatening to be given a 12A rating without cuts. The BBFC regulation was effective in cinema release as Entertainment made cuts to the film to make it suitable for those under 12. However, the 12A rating becomes ineffective as although the content may not be suitable for younger members of the audience, the judgement comes down to parental decision. This means the physical gatekeeper which makes cinema regulation so effective isn’t put into force.
- Store regulation: Is effective at the point of purchase but DVDs and video games become out of control once they have been purchased as they age ratings don’t have to be enforced. Grand Theft Auto 5 was a game that, although given an 18 rating due to the extreme violence and glorification of a torture scene named ‘By The Book’, it is a game primarily targeted towards teenagers. The regulation of video games is fairly ineffective as they are frequently bought as gifts for younger people and therefore the PEGI certificate is not abided by.
- VOD and online download: Online download is a very ineffective means of regulating video games as there is no means of determining the age of the consumer. Hatred, a video game that explores the “genocide crusade” of a sociopath against the entire human race. Despite being given an 18 certificate by PEGI, the game caused a moral panic as the plot revolved around the protagonist committing violence for the sake of violence with very little context. The certificate awarded by PEGI proved to be ineffective however, as Stream, an online download website removed Hatred from sale due to the outrage it caused. Despite being awarded a certificate, the public deemed the game to be too dangerous for adult consumption.
- Conclusion and future: Ultimately, all mediums of regulation are in effective if there is not a physical gatekeeper to determine whether or not the audience is of acceptable age to view the film or play the video game. In the future, I think there will be another means of regulating the ages of consumers, such as finger print identity recognition which will ultimately remove the need for human identification and can be enforced within customers homes.
The BBFC is an independent, non-governmental body who view films and deem whether or not they are acceptable for public viewing and give each film a certificate to state which age group the film is suitable for. These certificates are effective means of regulation for cinema screenings as there is a physical gate keeper who decides if an audience member is of acceptable age to view the film. The BBFC is also effective as if a film is rejected and refused a certificate, the film cannot be shown in cinema or sold in stores. For example, Hate Crime was rejected a certificate and is not available for British viewing, and therefore demonstrates the effectiveness of regulation. PEGI stands for pan european gaming information and helps parents make informed decisions when purchasing games. However, the regulation of video games is more difficult than the regulation of films, as there are so many options for how to play the game, and therefore can be in effective. Video games such as Grand Theft Auto can be played in multiple different ways and therefore makes it difficult to regulate every feature of the video game. For both forms of media, regulation becomes in effective past the point of purchase, as there is no longer a body to regulate who views or plays the media item.
Cinema regulation is the most effective form of regulation as a physical gatekeeper is required to determine who and who cannot enter the screening and are able to turn people away who are clearly not of viewing age. Films that have been refused certificates, such as Hate Crime, are not allowed to be shown in cinemas and therefore cannot be watched. Hate Crime was refused a certificate without cuts because it was focused on the “terrorisation, mutilation, physical and sexual abuse” of a Jewish family as stated by the BBFC, and was therefore deemed unacceptable. The main issue was that the film provided little context towards the violence which the BBFC thought may encourage similar behaviour in audiences, even if given an adults only rating. This proves how effective the BBFC regulation is for cinema exhibition, as without a certificate, Hate Crime cannot be shown in British cinemas. However, in the past, cinema screenings were the only means of viewing a film and therefore if a film was refused a certificate, there would be no way to watch it. With the modern day advances of technology, Hate Crime is accessible for illegal piracy and may even be on video on demand services for download. Therefore, even though cinema regulation is effective to an extent, it does not prevent the film from being seen.
Cinema regulation, however, becomes in effective at the 12A rating, as the power is taken away from the physical gatekeeper and given to the guardians of children under the age of 12. The Woman in Black was initially deemed too psychologically threatening for a 12A rating without cuts to music to change the tone of the film. The BBFC regulation was effective in cinema release as Entertainment made cuts to the film to make it suitable for those under 12. However, the 12A film still contained themes of child suicide and the supernatural, which may be unsuitable for younger audiences, but without the physical gatekeeper, there is no regulation of who views the film under parental supervision. Thus, the physical gate keeper which made cinema regulation so effective is no longer put into force.
Store purchase is the next effective means of regulating media at the point of purchase. The shop assistant is able to determine whether or not this customer is of the age certificate and can refuse service if not. However, the regulation becomes in effective once the DVD or video game has been purchased, since there is no gatekeeper to regulate the consumption of the game. Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5) is a game that, although given an age 18 rating due to the extreme violence and glorification of torture (seen in a task named By The Book), is a game primarily targeted towards teenagers through the colourful advertisement and popular music featured. The regulation of video games becomes in effective because videogames are frequently bought as gifts for younger consumers, despite the person making the purchase being of age and therefore the PEGI rating is not abided by. Video game regulation is also ineffective as games can be taken out of context. In the past, video game used to be very basic and therefore there was little need for regulation and parents were certain of what their children were playing, but, with the increasing technology of today, graphics have improved greatly to give a more immersive experience. For example, there is a ‘Hot Coffee Mod’ on GTA which converts a violent, driving game into a game where the player controls sexual activities between their character and prostitutes. Therefore, what a parent deems as acceptable for their child may not always be how the game is consumed.
Video download is the most in effective means of regulating the purchase of films and video games, as there is no means of determining the age of the consumer without user input. Hatred is a video game that explores the “genocide crusade” of a sociopath against the entire human race, and presents a young boy violently murdering innocent people who he crosses paths with. Despite being given an 18 certificate by PEGI, the game caused a moral panic as the plot revolved around the protagonist committing violence for the sake of violence with very little context, and therefore concerned parents that it may influence their children’s behaviour. The certificate awarded by PEGI proved to be ineffective however, as Stream, an online download website removed Hatred from sale due to the outrage it caused. This enforces how in effective the rating is because although PEGI deemed the game as being acceptable for adults only, the download site did not.
Ultimately, all mediums of regulation are in effective if there is not a physical gatekeeper to determine whether or not the audience is of acceptable age to view the film or play the video game. In the future, I think there will be another means of regulating the ages of consumers, such as fingerprint identity recognition which will ultimately remove the need for human identification and can be enforced within customers homes.