Revision notes
Court case what do you know
Exam
• You need to talk about two main media and how
they are regulated i.e. BBFC and PCC, and this all
must be linked to the past, present and future.
You may want to also discuss as a contrast
Ofcom’s regulatory practices.
• You need to talk about the debates in the media
industry
• You need to talk about case studies to support
you argument
• You need to use theorists and theory
Past exam questions
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These are linked to the following topic areas:
What is the nature of contemporary media regulation compared with previous practices?
What are the arguments for and against specific forms of contemporary media regulation?
How effective are regulatory practices?
What are the wider social issues relating to media regulation?
Past examples of exam questions:
How effectively can contemporary media be regulated?
How far does changes to media regulation effect broader social changes?
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In the exam you:
– have a choice of two questions
– have 60 minutes to answer the ‘regulation’ question
– MUST write about two media (e.g. film and newspapers. It doesn’t need to be even between the two
media, so could be 90% on one and 10% on the other)
– Must include theory or theorists and apply them to your case studies
– Should be able to discuss past, present and future
Theory and theorist
• Each topic area I have suggested includes
theorists in your crib sheet. You must try and
learn some of them along with case studies to
apply in the exam.
• Theory: Use Marxism and Audience Theory
Audience theory
• Hypodermic needle theory
• Uses and gratification
• Effects debate
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Theoretic theory: Marxism
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Marxist theory: In order to get into the A grade category you must use theory, not just theorists names.
Marxist theory best applies itself because we are studying regulation because it says the media produce a
dominate ideology, referred to as hegemony.
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Hegemony is the process where the ideological beliefs of the ruling class in society become the ruling
ideologies, which we all accept as the norm and common sense. Althussar (theorists) said the family
(along with the media, law education etc) is an Ideological State.
The importance here is the ruling classes control the media, Ben Bagdikian's said there were 5 main
media companies that controlled what we see here and read. So regardless whether the Sun newspaper is
regulated we can still consume our media from 20th Century Fox or Sky News who news corps owns. The
key issues with this debate is to do with the ruling class control, but who controls the internet? The
Modern debate in Marxist revolves around who has control of the internet.
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Some governments (e.g. China) place rigid controls on what their citizens can and can't access via the
internet. Other entities (e.g. Google) also place controls on the information we can obtain via our
browsers, although their censorship is more subtle. However, internet users find ways to escape and
challenge controls, and post/read information in defiance of authority. Does this mean the end of
hegemony as we know it, as we move towards a pluralistic society? (pluralistic means a society where
wide number of people have control) Or will governments and big business gain control over the internet,
restricting our access to information, and channelling only hegemonic viewpoints once again?
Marxist quotes
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• Media as means of production:
Chandler: The mass media are, in classical Marxist terms, a 'means
of production' which in capitalist society are in the ownership of the
ruling class. According to the classical Marxist position, the mass
media simply disseminate the ideas and world views of the ruling
class, and deny or defuse alternative ideas. This is very much in
accord with Marx's argument that:
The class which has the means of material production at its disposal
has control at the same time over the means of mental production,
so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the
means of mental production are subject to it. (Marx & Engels: The
German Ideology, cited in Curran et al. 1982: 22).
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Quotes continued
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According to this stance, the mass media functioned to produce 'false
consciousness' in the working-classes. This leads to an extreme stance whereby
media products are seen as monolithic expressions of ruling class values, which
ignores any diversity of values within the ruling class and within the media, and
the possibility of oppositional readings by media audiences.
Stuart Hall have approached the issue of media portrayals of violence in terms of
whether such portrayals have served 'to legitimize the forces of law and order,
build consent for the extension of coercive state regulation and de-legitimate
outsiders and dissidents'. 'They have thus examined the impact of the mass media
in situations where mediated communications are powerfully supported by other
institutions such as the police, judiciary and schools... The power of the media is
thus portrayed as that of renewing, amplifying and extending the existing
predispositions that constitute the dominant culture, not in creating them' (Curran
et al. 1982: 14; see also ibid.: 27).
Quotes continued
• Althusser's tend to portray the great mass of
ordinary men and women as incapable of
recognising and resisting the appeals of the
system of commercial cultural forces around
them. Victims of false consciousness, they are
seen pretty much as the passive victims of a
capitalist conspiracy. As Fred Inglis expresses it,
that view assumes that ordinary people are
'bloody fools' (Inglis (1972)).
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Debates in regulation
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Debates focus around the following
1. Self regulating vs. state regulation
2. Press Freedom or public interest vs. state control
3. Freedom of expression vs. Privacy i.e. article 10 human rights act freedom of
expression v’s article 8 privacy.
4. The effects debate and criticism of that (this is the foundation of this area)
5 Bias v’s impartiality: The press would argue that it operates in the public
interest, but the reality is newspapers are biased because they have commercial
pressures to sell newspapers, i.e phone hacking scandal, they have lost public
trust, they are also biased because they support political parties.
Media specific debate and problems with regulation and the internet and web 2.0
You could also use Marxist or femist theory to ar
Candidates need to show a deep understanding of a debate, with application and
assessment of theories, research and conflicting ideas, with a range of
contemporary examples, at least one reference to the past and one projection for
the future.
Question 1
• What do you know about contemporary media
regulation compared with previous practices?
• Two main areas: BBFC and PCC, these are the main
areas you should talk about, but you should contrast
how they are regulated with other media why should
you do this? And what debate does this lead to?
• What does contemporary mean?
• Break this down into past, present and future
• The question is asking you what has changed
What are the debates here?
What case studies could use here to
support your argument?
What theorists might you use?
Question 2
• What are the arguments for and against
specific forms of contemporary media
regulation? Powerpoint 2 PCC and
Powerpoint case studies and Powerpoint 2
BBFC.
What are the debates here?
What case studies could use here to
support your argument?
What theorists might you use?
Question 3
• How effective are regulatory practices?
What are the debates here?
What case studies could use here to
support your argument?
What theorists might you use?