Regulation of the Media Sector

In the media sector, with it’s large audiences, and its number of productions and products associations there are also a number of legislations to regulate what is created to a ethical standard.


Those Who Regulate The Media Industry 

There are a number of companies which will regulate their area of the media industry, setting a standard for consumers to help them make informed decisions on  what they are about to watch or buy.

PEGI

PEGI (“Pan European Game Information”) is a company which assigns ratings and labels to games.

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PEGI Age Ratings

PEGI’s age ratings are:

“3” is considered for all ages.

  • Limited violence and only in a comical/ or satire sort of context,
  • No associations with the character on screen and real life characters,
  • It should be totally devoid of scenes and sounds that would scare or frighten a child,
  • There should also be no bad language.

“7” is similar to “3” in that it is particularly censored.

  • There are scenes/ sounds in-game that could scare a child

“12” are generally for an older audience than 3 and 7.

  • Violence is more graphic in nature though it is depicted towards fantasy characters,
  • There can be degrees of nudity,
  • Bad language which stops sort at any sexual expletives.

“16” is maturer still.

  • Realistic depictions of violence or sexual activity,
  • More extreme language,
  • Drug use,
  • Depictions of criminal activity .

“18” is the adult classification.

  • Gross violence/ gore

PEGI Labels

The labels above are classifications that PEGI uses in order to give a game its age rating and are pretty self-explanatory.

ESRB

ESRB (“The Entertainment Software Rating Board”) rates video games and apps and divide their ratings to three parts:

  1. “Rating Categories” which is for age range.
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ESRB’s Rating Categories

2. “Content Descriptors” that is meant to help the consumer tell what sort of content triggered the rating/ or could be a cause for concern.

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ESRB’s Content Descriptors

3. “Interactive Elements” which is set to inform the consumer of interact access or information (profiles) that could be shared to other players.

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ESRB’s Interactive Elements

 

Video Standards Council 

The VCS  (“Video Standards Council”) supplies the age ratings in accordance with PEGI as well as granting classification certificates for “video games pursuant to the Video Recordings Act 1984”.

Content which could get a video game denied can include things like: sexual content/ pornographic images, cruelty to animals, racial or sexual hatred, obscene material, harmful content such as criminal behaviour, illegal  drugs, violent/ horrific behaviours or incidents, or things which impede on the protection of children.  There is, however, also an appeal process if a game should be denied.

Regulatory Issues That Can Affect Decisions For Planning And Producing  

Regulations can and will affect the product of any sort of media products. These regulations, whether the audience is set for adults or for children to make sure that the content is appropriate for who will be consuming the product.

For example: children, if the program will be airing in the morning or early in the evening there mustn’t be any bad language, censored violence to fantasy type characters and no sort of sexual content.

If I wanted to make a program I would have to take in to consideration what time the programme would be airing and who the demographic it is marketed for.


Why Is The Media Sector Regulated

Media regulation is there to intervene with certain laws or rules. They where – and do – get put into place for various reasons, must common being goals of protecting “public interest”, keeping high standards in production and to encourage competition in the media sector.

“Public interest” is an umbrella time for a wide range of things, such as the Code of Ethics which applies to everyone in their professional and business lives.

The Issues Affecting Media Producers And Consumers

One of the many issues that affect both media producers and its consumers is advertisement and the problems it causes such as: product placement advertisements which are disguised as entertainment. Though the more pressing issue is adverts targeting children during prime time.

Targeting children can cause friction in families for parents who perhaps can’t afford or do not want to buy the product of the advertisement.

Monopoly And The Importance That No Single Producer In The UK Has Monopoly

A monopoly is an extreme case of capitalism where a single company or owner starts to buy nearly all the market of a product or service.

The main problem with monopoly is that the there is a lack of competition which leads to high prices and inferior products. It is not consumer friendly as there is no incentive for good customer service.

Importance Of Customer Choice

Keeping the customer happy is extremely important business, especially in media if you are making a series where you have to keep the viewer back after each episode. It all comes down to reputation and keeping loyal to the original customers.

Allowing the customer to have a fair amount of choice with a service or able to influence some of the direction that will positively affect how happy the customer will be with a service.

Censorship

Censorship is the suppression of speech or information which is considered to be questionable, harmful, politically incorrect. In other governments they can be stricter with  what their people or media outlets are allowed to say or publish.

Censorship VS Public Interest

The argument with what is best for public interest and what is censorship is debatable as there is a thin line between the two. For example, good but controversial content can be cut to avoid offending people in power. Social issues can be avoided to stop from making a political statement and other times minorities aren’t represented well or kept stereotypical. With these types of problems it is certainly not thoughts of public interest.

However there are positive points to public interest; when a company will buy the rights to another company’s properties’ that are foreign that product will often be translated in a way that will make it easier to understand or edit content out that is questionable in their country.

For example, Nintendo’s Fire Emblem: “Fates” had a character, “Soleil” who tells the Avatar in her support conversations that she has a problem with fainting around “cute girls”. The Avatar goes onto tell her that they will help her with the problem and gives her a potion that will make Soleil see all women as men.

This was edited in the American and European release as this was seen as conversion therapy with anti-LGBT themes, a problem Japan doesn’t out-rightly struggle with.  However, with how sensitive that topic is (especially in America) it was changed so that the two characters merely practiced with mediation instead.

Reasons Why Under-18’s Should Be Subject To Particular Consideration

There are quite a few laws that are put into place to protect children – or people under 18. It may sometimes seem unfair, especially when a lot of the regulations that are set up aren’t always used by parents. However, the under 18 category is especially vulnerable and impressionable.

There have always been concerned that violent videogames, movies or television programs will make a child violent in return. As I said before, children are impressionable and are known to copy people. If a seven year old is allowed to play something like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) where the characters have no sort of moral compass, actively break the law for no reason outside of personal gain and with themes that are obscenely sexist.

There is nothing to stop said child from picking up those sorts of attitudes. It is rated “M” (17 or older, for a reason.) In America there was a boy who shot his grandma dead, it is speculated it was because he had been playing GTA and didn’t realise the consequences.

How The Regulatory Body Enforces its’ Power

The law will prosecute retailers if they were to sell 12, 16 or 18 REGI age ratings to children (as The British Board of Film Classification dropped their own rating system following recommendations in The Byron Review).


References

PEGI Website

ESRB Website

VSC’s Website

Public Interest

Advertisement

Monopoly

Customer Choice

Censorship

Legally Enforceable PEGI Ratings

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