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More trigger warnings...

The BBFC respond to a public opinion survey by promising more carefully manufactured PC wording in its ratings info

Link Here3rd December 2021

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has commissioned new research into racism and discrimination in films and TV shows, asking people, including those who have been directly affected, their views into the classification of such scenes, in both modern and older content.

Findings showed that people don't think that older films and TV shows necessarily need higher age ratings if they contain outdated behaviour or language, but they want to be warned about potentially offensive words or portrayals.

People understand that some older films and TV shows are a 'product of their time', but it's clear that attitudes have shifted over the years.

When it comes to a more current setting, the findings showed the 'n word' should not be classified lower than 12A/12 - unless there is very clear and strong educational value, for example, in a documentary with strong appeal or value to younger audiences.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said:

"We must always assess the context in which content appears, especially with regards to the factors that may support a higher classification or help defend a lower one. Violent and threatening behaviour, or use of particularly offensive language, will always aggravate an instance of discriminatory or racist behaviour. However, clear condemnation, sympathy with the victims, or a documentary or historical setting can all work to help frame the sequence and potentially give the content educational value for younger viewers."

The research found that some people, particularly parents, believe there is value in showing children examples of racism and discrimination to 'prepare' them for the behaviour and attitudes they may experience or witness in real life. But others want to shield children from racism and discrimination for as long as possible. People, especially parents, therefore want content warnings so they can make informed decisions.

People are empathetic towards others, recognising that even if they are not personally offended by a certain term or behaviour, they acknowledge others may be - again highlighting the need for content warnings on films and TV shows.

Lord Kamlesh Patel, Vice President of the BBFC, said:

"Movements dedicated to raising awareness and combatting discrimination and racism have gained important traction in the last two years. In response, we wanted to see how this has impacted the views of people in the UK, and particularly to hear from and listen to those who have been directly impacted by discrimination and racism as their voices are important. We recognise that our role isn't just about protecting children from harmful content, it's about helping parents who might want to use depictions of discrimination and racism as a potential teaching moment."

Changes the BBFC are making off the back of this research:

  • adopting an even stricter position on the classification of the 'n-word' at the junior categories

  • placing significant emphasis on the educational value of documentary contexts, which might result in a documentary getting a lower age rating

  • being particularly mindful of the intent within the scene when classifying older films and TV shows

  • continuing to consider directed, aggressive or violent depictions of discrimination, or the likelihood of children copying any form of racism, including racist language, as key factors which might raise an age rating

  • continuing to use ratings info to signal when discriminatory language or behaviour is contained in a film or TV show

  • Using the phrase 'an actor in make-up portraying a different ethnicity' when describing assumed racial identities

About the research:

  • 70 participants took part in online research sessions, and were asked to watch clips and answer questions about them.

  • 20 respondents were asked to participate in interviews to dig deeper into specific issues.

  • When defining the sample we intentionally over-represented a number of minority groups (e.g. Black) in order to understand the perception/impact of discriminatory content on those most directly affected by it.

  • Over 70% of the final sample identify as among protected characteristic groups, with some participants being part of more than one group

  • We Are Family also recruited a nationally representative group; but the overall sample does not reflect the demographic make-up of the UK population overall. During analysis this has been taken into account, and we have tried to identify and pull out insight that best reflects the attitudes of the majority, and as such is reflective of the BBFC's commitment to represent and reflect the UK population.

Offsite Comment: smacks of paternalism

3rd December 2021. See article from by Simran Hans

It is troubling that the British Board of Film Classification believes its role includes judging art on the lessons it imparts



Progressive justice...

US judge suspends Texas internet law intended to stop social media companies from censoring right leaning opinions

Link Here3rd December 2021
A us judge has banned a Texas state internet law that banned large internet companies from censoring user content on the basis of political bias.

Texas' HB 20 law, passed a few months ago, bans online platforms with over 50 million monthly active users from censoring content based on a users' viewpoint. The law focuses on restricting social platforms' ability to censor content, although it contains some provision to get illegal content removed faster.

Judge Robert Pitman granted an injunction filed by NetChoice and CCIA to put HB 20 on hold until the case is complete. The judge argues that the law violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies.

The judge insisted that the government cannot dictate what content a social media company is allowed or not allowed to publish.

Private companies that use editorial judgment to choose whether to publish content -- and, if they do publish content, use editorial judgment to choose what they want to publish -- cannot be compelled by the government to publish other content.

According to the court, viewpoint discrimination can be deemed editorial discretion, which is a principle protected by the First Amendment.

The law also requires large social media companies to provide detailed reports of their content moderation decisions. The court ruled that requirement is inordinately burdensome given the unfathomably large numbers of posts on these sites and apps.



More distracting than domestic violence...

ASA bans Gold and Goblins game advert for trivialising domestic violence

Link Here22nd November 2021

An in-app ad for the mobile app game Gold and Goblins, seen in the Hooked Inc: Fishing Games and Quizzland apps on 17 September 2021, included a video of a woman playing a game on her mobile phone, while behind her a man picked up a chair and drew it back over his head as if to strike the woman with it. The ad then showed the man looking at the phone over the woman's shoulder as she continued to play.

Two complainants, who considered the ad encouraged domestic violence, challenged whether it was offensive and socially irresponsible. Response

AppQuantum Publishing Ltd said they would immediately stop running the ad across all their platforms. They said they had intended the ad to be humorous in nature, and apologised for any offence it might have caused.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA acknowledged AppQuantum's willingness to remove the ad.

The ad depicted a man about to assault a woman, and we considered that consumers would understand from the context of the setting that it was because her attention was focused on the game she was playing, rather than on the man.

We considered that such a reference used in an ad for a mobile app game trivialised and condoned the serious and sensitive subject of domestic violence. This was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, and we considered the ad had not been prepared in a socially responsible manner.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told AppQuantum Publishing Ltd not to trivialise or condone domestic violence in its advertising.



Casting out history...

The National Gallery removes a promotional picture with caricatures of jews

Link Here28th October 2021
The National Gallery has removed a picture from an upcoming major exhibition from its website over claims of antisemitic portrayal of Jews.

Albrecht Dürer's Christ Among the Doctors from 1509 depicts a story from the Gospel according to Luke of Jesus on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, alongside a caricature of Jewish men from the synagogue.

The National Gallery had initially displayed the artwork prominently on its website advertising the upcoming exhibition without mentioning its portrayal of Jews. After the gallery was alerted to the fact by Jewish News reader Ralph Harris, it removed the picture online and highlighted the antisemitic representation in its gallery. A spokesperson said:

We are aware that the representation of the Doctors may cause offence and both the wall texts and the audio guide in the exhibition will acknowledge and address caricature and antisemitic portrayal in the painting.

We have removed the image and accompanying text from our online gallery of selected exhibited works as we felt that in this format there was not adequate space for the interpretation required for this work.

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