SpeakSpeak News

4/14/2005

Bush Wishy-Washy on Cable Regulation

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/14/2005 @ 4:21 pm

Multichannel News reports that President Bush has voiced his support of cable regulations, but also says that parents ought to use their knobs.

Speaking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Bush said:

“The ultimate responsibility in a consumer-driven economy is for people to say, ‘I’m not going to watch it,’ and turn the knob off,” Bush said. “That’s how best to make decisions and how best to send influences. But I don’t mind standards being set out for people to judge the content of a show, to help parents make right decisions. The government ought to help parents, not hinder parents, in sending good messages to their children.”

More at Multichannel News.

Other reports at Ad Age, Variety, Broadcasting & Cable, and
Reuters.

According to the Reuters piece, a White House flack later mitigated Bush’s statements, saying “was merely expressing support for legislation that passed the House of Representatives last year that called for increasing fines on broadcasters that violated decency limits but did not address cable and satellite television.”

Hullabaloo: Kids These Days!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/14/2005 @ 9:31 am

It is the circle of life.

Every generation of kids is in danger of crossing the line, according to its parents. Flappers? Rock ‘n rollers? Tony and Maria? ‘South Park’ devotees?

It’s always something.

Hullabaloo’s Digby digs deeper.

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, or Religious Fringe Group?

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/14/2005 @ 9:25 am

The Gadflyer examines how major media outlets cover politically motivated religious organizations, using Focus on the Family as an example. (Revisit the Florida’s News-Press for the PTC example.)

China’s Censors Censor China

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/14/2005 @ 8:54 am

A group of Western researchers have found that China’s official internet censors are finding easy success. The government’s sensitive subjects – the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, Falun Gong, Mr. Dalai Lama – are off-limits to net users.

The study, which evaluated China’s Internet practices over the past year, found the government employed an aggressive array of tactics, including blocking certain keyword searches and whole Web sites, and forcing cyber-cafes to keep records of users and the Web pages they visit.

“China operates the most extensive, technologically sophisticated and broad-reaching system of Internet filtering in the world,” the study said.

[…]

Companies such as Cisco and Google Inc. have been accused of aiding China’s censorship by tailoring their products to suit the government’s needs. The study did not confirm those allegations, which the companies have denied.

Some reports on Chinese censorship also claim that the country has as many as 30,000 “Internet police” dedicated to the task, but the study did not confirm that estimate. Still, it identified 11 government agencies that share responsibility for controlling Internet use in the country.

In the Washington Post.

Salon on Indecency and Consolidation

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/14/2005 @ 8:44 am

Salon has a detailed article on the relationship between two of the biggest elephants in the FCC’s living room: indecency and media consolidation.

Our ally Jonathan Rintels is a featured voice in the article.

What may be additionally frustrating for activists who worked on the same side as Copps and Adelstein during the consolidation battle is that the two FCC commissioners first embraced the indecency issue via the media ownership debate. At the time, they argued that as fewer and fewer corporations bought up more and more programming outlets, there would be a race to the bottom in content, and that without hands-on local owners, radio and television stations would no longer have a sense of community standards, leading to an increase in indecent programming. Both Democratic commissioners urged Powell to order a study of that possibility. In a 2002 written statement to the press, Copps wondered, “Has consolidation led to an increase in the amount of indecent programming? When programming decisions are made on Wall Street or Madison Avenue, rather than by local broadcasters on Main Street, does indecency grow more pervasive? We must answer these questions before the Commission votes on whether to eliminate our media concentration protections this spring.”

That rationale struck a chord with cultural conservatives, who were already protesting raunchy content and distrustful of allowing major media empires to expand. Even today, on the Parents Television Council home page, right next to the “Broadcast Indecency” banner, visitors can learn more about the issue of “Media Ownership/Localism.”

“I sat two chairs away from [PTC’s] Brent Bozell and testified alongside him” at congressional hearings on media consolidation,” recalls Rintels. “I could’ve written his comments and he could’ve written mine. We see a link between ownership and indecency,” he says.

In the end, Copps and Adelstein were not able to get Powell to look into the “consolidation equals indecency” angle of the ownership debate. And Martin himself quietly sided with Powell in voting for relaxing the ownership rules. (It will be interesting to see if Martin, as Powell did before him, tries to keep separate the issues of consolidation and indecency.)

Read the piece at Free Press or Salon.com.

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