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Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Quick Facts zDate of first National Association of Broadcasters code for broadcasting: 1929 zDate.

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Presentation on theme: "Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Quick Facts zDate of first National Association of Broadcasters code for broadcasting: 1929 zDate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Quick Facts zDate of first National Association of Broadcasters code for broadcasting: 1929 zDate code abolished: 1983 zMost influential citizens’ group in TV history: Action for Children’s Television zNumber of sexual references in prime time TV, 1989: 36 zNumber of sexual references in prime time TV, 2003: 342

2 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Self-Regulation in Broadcasting and Cable Codes: written statements of principle guiding behavior yEg. “Thou shalt not bear false witnesses against…” yCodes are common in all professions: medicine, law, journalism The NAB Code: National Association of Broadcasters yEstablished radio code in 1929, included TV in 1952 yCovered both programming and advertising yAfter anti-trust suit, NAB code was revoked

3 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Self-Regulation in Broadcasting and Cable yNAB: National Association of Broadcasters x Voluntary programming principles adopted yRadio & Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) xCode of Broadcast News Ethics ySociety of Professional Journalists (SPJ) xCode for objectivity and press responsibility yAmerican Advertising Federation (part of Better Business Bureau) xCode for truthfulness in advertising

4 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Self-Regulation in Broadcasting and Cable Recent government pressure to create code of behavior y1997: Congress introduces bill to allow industry to create new code (did not pass) y1998: NAB was asked to draft an updated voluntary code of conduct for broadcasters. y2000: Senate asks FCC asked to examine if current programming was serving the public interest yNAB has resisted all efforts to resurrect its code, citing First Amendment concerns

5 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Other Codes and Policies zWithout Codes: yManagement must be sensitive to political, social and economic sensibilities of community yStations develop own policy guidelines zAdvantages to codes yPublic & employees are made aware of specific policies zDisadvantages to codes yCodes could be used in court against a station yNeed to be worded vaguely to reflect an entire organization and thus are not useful day-to-day

6 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Departments of Standards and Practices yStandards and Practices Departments have been cut back, reflecting a more liberal, viewing public ySocietal standards more tolerant ySuccess of “The Sopranos” & “Sex and the City” has encouraged programmers to “push the envelope” yThe V-Chip passes some responsibility on the public yNetwork’s competitive position influences its standards

7 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Department of Standards and Practices zNetwork’s competitive position influences standards yFox Network: introduced controversial shows like “Married With Children,” “The Simpsons” zCable has more leeway in following standards y“South Park” runs in the late evening yMTV runs ‘The Osbornes’ at night zPremium Cable channels, HBO & Showtime have greatest latitude when it comes to mature and sexual content y‘Sex and the City’ would never be aired by a broadcast network without editing content

8 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Departments of Standards and Practices zAcceptability of TV/radio messages depends on: ySize of the market yThe time period yThe station’s audience yThe type of content involved

9 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 The V-Chip zIntriguing blend of legal regulation and self-regulation zIs coordinated with voluntary ratings scheme ySection 551, Telecommunications Act of 1996 yTV-Y – programs suitable to “all children” yTV-Y7 – programs “directed to older children”, aged 7 and above yTV-G – general audience yTV-14 – Parents strongly cautioned for children under 14 yTV-M – mature audience only

10 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Professional Groups zIndustry/Trade organizations offering research, technical advice yBest known: National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) yNational Cable Television Association (NCTA) yNational Advertising Division (NAD) yNational Advertising Review Board (NARB) zScholarly and Academic Organizations: Working with students yBroadcast Education Association yAssociation for Education in Journalism

11 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Citizens’ Groups z Exerting a force: Three Prime Areas of Concern yConcern over portrayal of minorities yPresentation of sex and violence - concerned groups xCenter for Media Education xCenter for Communication Policy xParents Media Council yChildren’s Programming xParent Teacher Association xNational Education Association

12 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Children’s Programming zMajor Focus: Enforcement of the provisions found in Children’s Television Act of 1990 zCenter for Media Education maintains Web Site with description of the legal regulations zWeb Site shows listing of what programs are meeting 3- hour requirement zWeb site shows if station is in compliance with law

13 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Effects of Citizen’s Groups on Children’s TV zIncrease sensitivity of programmers towards offensive material zRestrict creative freedom of writers zProducers have to walk thin line between alternatives yGiving into one group’s demands offends everyone else ySatisfying everyone is not an easy task

14 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Ethics Crucial to self-regulation in broadcasting industry zBroadcasters make decisions open to public scrutiny zFrom “ethos”: a dwelling place in which we fell comfortable zWhich human actions are morally permissable? zEthics and law are related: both limit human activities zLaw is enforced by sanctions/consequences zEthics are enforced by one’s moral sense of what’s proper zLaw and ethics often can and often overlap

15 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Ethical Theories Teleological Theory (Greek for “teleos”; end or result) zMeasures rightness/wrongness of actions in terms of consequences yE.G.: Is it wrong to show violence on TV during the time when children are watching because it will persuade children to hurt other people? yE.G.: Is it wrong for journalists to accept gifts from their sources because it hurts journalists’ credibility?

16 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Ethical Theories Deontological Theory (Greek for “deon”; duty): zNot concerned with consequences zDeals with those duties that are morally required of all zSource of these duties: reason, society, supernatural, the human conscience yE. G.: A journalist may not assume another identity when covering a story because it constitutes lying, an action forbidden by one of the Ten Commandments zDoes not matter if the consequences of lying are beneficial

17 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Utilitarianism zMost popular teleological theory zA person should act such that it produces the greatest possible ratio of good over evil zOne makes the decision that yields the most good and/or the least harm for the fewest number yE.G.: Restaurant that sponsors station is violating health code. Does one run or kill the story? Tally the negative and positive consequences and make the decision

18 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Egoism zTeleological principle zPremise: Act in a way that is best for you zDo not sacrifice ‘self’ to others zBlueprint: Ayn Rand’s novel, ‘The Fountainhead’ zRequires thoughtful analysis of each choice to find what is best for an individual: does not preclude kindness to others or concern for others welfare zSubject of much criticism: paradoxical and inconsistent

19 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Categorical Imperative zDeontological in nature zDeveloped by Immanuel Kant zPremise: Duty governs decisions – not consequences zOne’s duty is recognized via ‘Categorical Imperative’ zAct only on principles you’d want to be universal law zWhat’s right for one is right for all yE.G.: Should you run the restaurant health violation story?

20 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 The Golden Mean zDeontological in nature zDeveloped by writings of Aristotle zEthics theory grounded in natural law zModeration, temperance & equilibrium and harmony zSearch for the extremes – Find the ‘golden mean’ within yE.G.: Health-violating restaurant is taken to task, but the story notes that it is only the first such violation.

21 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Cultural Ethics zGrounded in society – not nature zAn individual is shaped by culture – not nature zAn individual adjusts, to a society of no universals zProblems solved contextually, with regard to ‘norms’

22 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Situational Ethics zCultural Ethics argues that societal norms are inadequate due to uniqueness of all situations and problems zDecisions are founded upon unique details of situation yE.G.: Health-violating restaurant: Was the Board of Health acting upon a vendetta against this restaurant or was the restaurant really in violation? Whole situation must be studied.

23 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 “Doing Ethics” zBroadcasters must have some predefined standard in place in order to be able to respond quickly-and ethically- in situations zPersonal ethics assures broadcaster of some consistency in decisions zTechniques of moral reasoning needed to rationally explain decisions zCompanies ranking high in ethics generally ranked high in grow and earnings per share

24 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 “Doing Ethics” (continued) Some suggestions yTell the Truth yBehave Justly yAct Humanely yBehave responsibly

25 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 “Doing Ethics” (continued) Blueprint for solving a problem in an ethical manner Stage One zDetermine the situation zCompile all the facts zLearn all the circumstances Stage Two zExamine and clarify all possible alternatives zBe aware of your own loyalties zDetermine what ethical theories/principles you will follow Stage Three zDecide and act accordingly

26 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Ethics in The Real World zDo professionals have time to reflect on their decisions? zMany broadcasters enter the field without a personal code of ethics zMany current media execs lack training in ethical standards zPresently, codes of conduct are written in broad, general terms with little relevance to the individual

27 Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond Chapter 11 Ethics in The Real World zCompanies rarely conduct ethics training zNumber 1 ethical problem: balancing profits against public service zTheoretical knowledge of ethics helpful but must be weighed by an awareness of the nature of the day-to- day pressures in TV & radio


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