Mediamarch petition Premier

According to Mediawatch-UK’s news snippets, smut campaigners Mediamarch handed at 121,000 signature petition to 10 Downing street yesterday. Co-founders, Pippa “Think of the Children” Smith and Miranda “Stop Polluting my Mind” Suit, were there, as well as Beyer, and representatives from the Muslim Council of Britain and CARE.

The covering letter expressed “shock and disappointment” that no major political party was making an issue about smut and violence in the media. One of their major complaints was:

The BBFC (funded by the film industry) no longer believes in censorship but in giving adults guidance so they may decide what they want to watch.

How awful.

They also complain about Ofcom’s inability to “protect” viewers, and the “largely unregulated” internet, which is “causing particular harm”.


26 Responses to “Mediamarch petition Premier”

  1. Will says:

    I despair, I really do.

  2. Tania says:

    I might just have to and sit in a corner and cry

  3. Adam Bowman says:

    Not really related to the topic, but I’m a bit bored so have been browsing a few of these organisation’s websites, and I’m delighted to see how fantastic the new-look Christian Voice website looks. It’s so good you could almost miss the gaping cracks in their philosophy.
    Oh, and “largely unregulated” internet. There they go again, missing the entire point.

  4. Stuart says:

    If you want to find out what CARE are really all about, look them up on the Charities Commission website (reg. no. 1066963) and in particular, cast around the web to find out about their long and shameful campaign to retain Section 28. You might also ask why a ‘reputable’ charity sought to set up an offshore satellite last year, using the Isle of Man’s notoriously weak charity laws – which include not having to present accounts on any public record.
    Family values? Only if the family you admire is the Manson Family.

  5. Adam Bowman says:

    Ah, family values. Another spectre based on some non-existent and never-existent ideal. Much like the notion of “Britishness” based in this non-existent happy, pastoral pre-war Britain where we all knew our place, guv’nor.

    Who’s family is this based on, exactly? My family are fairly functional, sensible and happy, but I dread to think what would happen if we were the model for a nation.

  6. Dan says:

    I note Mediamarch’s despair that the BBFC and Ofcom allows adults to decide what they want to watch.
    Oh no we can’t have that can we? We adults need telling what we can watch before we are all corrupted by evil devil worshipping filth.

  7. Christopher Shell says:

    The ‘family values’ thing refers to the large rise in things like premature sex, promiscuous sex, extramarital sex, STDs, pornography, abortion and divorce in the same period that has seen the decline of the ‘traditional nuclear family’. One school of thought sees a connection; another sees no connection.

  8. Christopher Shell says:

    Dan-
    Does ‘adults’ equal ‘responsible human beings’? if it did, then I would agree with you.
    But, on the contrary, adults do all sorts of things that are even forbidden to schoolchildren in school rules. What is the point of training children out of things if they know very well that they can do those same things once they are ‘adult’?
    This is the ‘maturing’ process you have in mind: that it demonstrates maturity to become more (not less) rebellious and lawless as one grows older?
    For example, so-called ‘adult’ magazines are the very ones that show a little-boy attitude.

  9. tom p says:

    doc – we have free will. adults can choose to be irresponsible if they wish. of course, one man’s meat is another’s poison. What you may call irresponsible behaviour, others may see as a sensible risk worth taking. A good case in point is credit. A couple of generations ago it would have been seen as unbelievably irresponsible to accrue personal debt for a fundamentally useless consumer good, such as a VCR, however now it’s the entire basis of our economy and if everyone stopped all at once (which, it could be argued, would be the responsible thing to do), it would send us plunging into a massive recession.
    Would that be more responsible?

  10. tom p says:

    Also, so-called ‘jazz mags’ tend to have very few articles about John Coltrane in them. And ‘girlie mags’ are generally aimed at blokes. What’s the deal with that?

  11. Christopher Shell says:

    Tom-
    So ‘adults can choose to be irresponsible if they wish’. I find this an incoherent position for two reasons:
    (1) What is the deal with a society which says that the mature ones can be irresponsible and the immature ones can’t be? Gives a whole new meaning to ‘maturity’.
    (2) Why not simply say: we do not encourage them to be irresponsible, nor necessarily legalise it. Human nature being what it is, it will happen anyway – but that doesnt mean we should encourage it. In any case, if we dont give it the stamp of approval, it will generally happen less (tho’ there are exceptions).
    Isnt (2) a more coherent position? The way you are talking it sounds like you are supporting irresponsible behaviour, even though by definition such behaviour (e.g irresponsible driving) is so much more likely to harm you (accidentally) than is responsible behaviour.

  12. Christopher Shell says:

    Re debt:
    Yes I have sympathy with those who dont get into debt, apart from the fact that they avoid interest. Sometimes ppl who have been in debt are more favourably looked on by banks than those who have not been – & wheres the sense in that? A buy-now-pay-later economy could be in danger of producing enjoy-now-pay-later individuals, just as a throwaway society could be in danger of producing short-termists rather than steadfast people.

  13. Chris Cockbill says:

    Option two seems like an Orwellian dystopia to me – one where everyone is told to conform, or else suffer the dire consequences. I certainly wouldn’t want that. What I would like is a society where everyone’s needs are catered for. Before you do your usual job of picking holes where there aren’t any holes to be picked in the first place, I mean needs that do not harm other people, unless everyone involved knows the associated risks of the action. People, more or less, know the risks. If they don’t then, really, there’s nothing that could be done, even under a hyper-authoritarian system. If people find themselves in a position where they come across something that they are upset or disgusted by, then they have every right to complain, so that the other people are given an opportunity to refine their ways to reach a middle ground – but the complainers should take avoidant actions as well, instead of invoking militancy. After all, if you banned something just because a group of people didn’t like it, then we’d all be very, very bored – whereas, if people avoided what they didn’t like, then we’d all be free to do pretty much what we want.

  14. Christopher Shell says:

    I dont think anyone should ban things just because they ‘dont like’ them. Taste has nothing to do with it. The only things that should be banned are things associated with negative statistical patterns.

  15. tom p says:

    Surely the things that should be banned are those that are shown to cause actual harm, rather than those that are simply associated with “negative statistical patterns”.
    Statistics aren’t explanations, just numbers. It’s how these numbers are interpreted, taking into account all possible variables. The fundamental weakness in your argument is that you seem to see only one cause, whereas society is far more complicated than just your personal bete noir would suggest

  16. Christopher Shell says:

    What I am concerned about is that some ppl would rather stonewall (which is an unhelpful, unproductive and negative approach) than draw reasonably obvious conclusions. For example, the reality of X and the portrayal of X are clearly quite closely connected, since both centre on one thing: namely X.

    But yes: that is what I mean by ‘negative statistical patterns': patterns shown to cause harm. Take divorce for example. In terms of stress it ranks second behind only bereavement. Therefore it makes sense to minimise it.

  17. tom p says:

    the reality of X and the portrayal of X are clearly quite closely connected, since both centre on one thing: namely X

    well, duh! however what you correctly didn’t say there is that portrayal of X leads to X.
    Your statement in no way shows that portrayal of an event leads to a rise in an event.
    You are clearly implying earlier that this is the case, so why not say it here?
    Further to your point about divorce, if memory serves, the greatest cause of divorce is stress imposed by financial worries. The best way to minmise divorce would be to ensure that everyone was well off. However according to your usual ‘showing an event causes people to act it out’ (I paraphrase) argument, the best way to reduce divorce would be to ban screenings of kramer vs kramer

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    I think my suggestion is a more modest one. If the portrayals of X and the incidences of X both just so happen to rise sharply at exactly the same time (and in general their rises and falls mirror one another), AND no other obvious explanation springs to mind, then we may well have a case of causation.

  19. tom p says:

    If all other societal factors could be discounted, and it could be shown that portrayal preceded action (it could easily, of course, be the other way round, with the media merely reflecting a growing trend in society. since it tends to lag behind most trends anyway, this is quite likely), then your incredibly narrow definition of your actual hypothesis would be less easily disprovable.
    However, no man is an island, and the media does not operate in a vacuum. If memory serves, you previously referred to the ‘sexual revolution’ and many of the facets of the societal change it wrought. Your awareness of this makes it even more surprising that you genuinely believe that the meejah makes a large difference to the way adults behave.
    Your talk of normalisation of certain behaviours is certainly appropriate with children, but adults have more experience and wisdom and are generally able to separate fiction from reality better than kids (on that last point, religious believers excepted, of course)

  20. Christopher Shell says:

    The sexual revolution is an interesting one. Ive already mentioned that I see it as a single interrelated causal nexus, rather than a cause-effect chain. But either way, the media (in the persons of Hugh Carleton Greene &c) were big players in its onset in this country.

    Naturally the media will often reflect socisty. This has no relevance to the question of whether they played any part in creating that society in the first place. A few relevant factors:
    (1) media people are atypical of the population at large: overbalance of young upwardly-mobile educated liberal whites etc. – so what they see as normal is no more than what is normal in their own circles. Of course, you could say that ppl of other ages, cultures and backgrounds were equally strong trend-setters – but without their having as much airtime on tv, one would be disinclined to believe this. The Christian contingent is a case in point. It constantly catches the largely nonChristian media world by surprise, in its bestsellers, in the strength of its feelings etc.. In other words, there are some subcultures which are better understood by tv moguls than others. It is the first group of subcultures which they will end up portraying as normal, whether statistically they are normal or not. This may then end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, as they normalise such things. This brings us on to normalisation…
    (2) How do we determine what is ‘normal’? By what we see around us. If ppl on average spend several hours in front of the tv, then a decent proportion of what we see is what we see on tv. Hence a decent proportion of what we perceive to be normal will be derived from what we have seen on tv.

  21. tom p says:

    Regardingthe normalising part, most people spend more time in conversation with others than watching the telly. That counteracts any abnormal bias that the media may introduce.
    Programmes made for children, who are far more susceptible than adults, ‘cos they don’t have years of life experience to fall back on, deliberately don’t include violence, sex or swearing.

  22. Christopher Shell says:

    How do you know it counteracts it? Do you want it to, or do you actually know it does? After all, the very ppl they are talking to are also having some of their perceptions of normality fromed by the telly.

    The children/adults thing is a joke. If these things are inappropriate for immature ppl, they must logically be far more inappropriate for ppl who have reached maturity – if indeed they have reached maturity.

  23. tom p says:

    You’re assuming that everyone is watching all the same telly programmes, when audience figures show just the opposite, especially in multi-channel households.
    You stated earlier that you watch a lot of TCM. A high proportion of their movies are in black and white. Does this mean that you think the world is actually greyscale, or do your everyday interactions with the world around you counteract the impression given to you by the telly?
    I enjoy watching Humphrey Bogart films. Does that mean that I think it’s ok to give a broad a slap when she’s being hysterical or just uncooperative? No. My interactions with the world around me show otherwise.
    If what you say is true (and clearly it isn’t), then everyone should be forced to spend an hour a day with G. Tingey, sharing his atelevisual experiences and reacquanting ourselves with true normality?
    .
    The children/adults dichotomy is both valid and important.
    A child does not have experience of life and how people genuinely interact. An adult does. If a child is exposed to violence at home, either from parental beatings of themself, their siblings or their mother, or through seeing inappropriate violent films, then they are more likely to be violent outside the home, eg in the playground. The former part of this claim (the actual violence) has been shown to be true and, if uncorrected, also to carry on into adulthood. The latter stems from my own experiences growing up. The kids who were allowed to watch Rambo and kung-fu flicks were the ones who were most violent at school.
    The kids exposed to violence had not the experience of life necessary to know that this wasn’t appropriate or normal.
    As a child, I was strictly forbidden from watching such movies. As an adult, I rather enjoy watching gore-spattered slasher flicks and ultra-violent japanese and korean films. Because I have experience of how one behaves, my behaviour has not been influenced by these films.
    Children do need protecting and are by law (film certification, swearing, sex and violence being on after the watershed etc). This should be backed-up by responsible parenting.
    Adults do not need protecting by self-appointed moral guardians. These busybodies would be best advised to put their energies into useful and productive activities.

  24. Christopher Shell says:

    Yes, I agree that children are more impressionable. I agree with all your para 2 and most of your para 1.
    The point that hasnt been addressed is how something (an activity, an interest etc) can be beneath the dignity of a child (an immature person) but not beneath the dignity of an adult (a mature person). It’s logically a puzzle that adults can be allowed to do all sorts of things that are forbidden even in school rules. The true answer is probably that it is the adults that make the rules and they want to be allowed to do what they like.

  25. tom p says:

    Nobody is saying that watching adult programmes on telly is beneath the dignity of children. It is age-inappropriate. Because a five-year old may not be allowed to go to the shops on his own, does that mean that it is beneath his dignity? No. It is simply age-inappropriate because he’s too easily suggestible and may run out into the road when his mate calls to him to come and play football.
    Kids can’t drink booze. Is that also beneath their dignity, or would it be unduly deleterious to their health, more so than it is for adults?
    False presupposition leads to false conclusions, doc.

  26. Christopher Shell says:

    One glass of alcoholic drink for a child in a pub is less harmful than ten for an adult (or most adults). Yet which of the two is illegal? You’re not wrong – but there’s more to it, & I think the fact that the adults make the rules explains a lot.