SpeakSpeak News


New Bill Would Require “Kid Friendly” Cable Package

Filed under
  • Cable/Satellite
 by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 10:07 am

Oregon Senatory Ron Wyden has drafted a bill that would require cable companies to offer a “kid-friendly” cable package.

“I have come to feel very strongly that the challenge is to give parents more choices,” Wyden (D) said in an interview

In the Washington Post.

Vagina-Lovers Plan Rally

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 10:04 am

Students in Minnesota, where several high schoolers were recently disciplined for their Vagina Monologue accoutrements, will hold a rally in support of free speech and provocative button-wearing.

School officials say the rally will be on an upcoming morning. Superintendent Paul Durand says students will be allowed to wear buttons and shirts that support the girls.

He says students can rally around the school’s flagpole before classes, but they’ll be asked to remove the buttons and turn the shirts inside out before entering the high school. Students who refused to do so will be asked to leave for that day.

School officials say the school is trying to balance students’ right to free speech with the employees’ right to a non-hostile work environment.

From Minneapolis’ WCCO CBS affiliate.

University of Texas Officials Use the “Tent Defense” to Shut Students Up

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:59 am

Student protestors recently took to the University of Texas (Austin) campus to protest tuition hikes. Protestors set up tents on the university mall (a vast pedestrian mall at the foot of the infamous UT tower).

University officials dug through the regulation books and came up with an ingenious ploy to stifle the student protest: The Tent Defense.

Yes, it turns out that the habitation of tents is forbidden on campus. One can pitch a tent as a display or as an artistic statement, but one cannot enter said tent.

From the Austin Chronicle.

In Sadaam-Free Iraq, On-Screen Sex Popular

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:50 am

Now that Sadaam’s gone, sexy films are enjoying increasing popularity in Iraq’s cinemas. (And, in turn, Iraqis are enjoying the increasing popularity of sexy films.)

Noori Jameel al-Madfa’i, general manager of the al-Rasheed cinema, said his most popular films are those with sex scenes. He shows these titles three to four days a week, with 150-200 people turning up for each viewing. He said his customers are men between the ages of 17 and 45.

“We can show any film in the hall, as there is no censorship of films from any government parties,” he said.

Ahmed Abdul-Hussein, a Baghdad resident, is in Sulaimaniyah looking for work in construction. In his free time, he sometimes goes to see movies featuring sex scenes.

“I’m here for 15 days, away from my wife,” said Abdul-Hussein, 40, who has four children. “I come to the cinema to see these films to satisfy a few of my sexual desires.”

In the Kurdish Media News.

AZ Columnist Intends to “Go Down Swinging”

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:44 am

A columnist at a suburban Phoenix newspaper says he’ll “go down swinging” to protect kids from “tide of filth that so permeates our society.”

His ire was sparked by a letter from a psychologist at a junior high school. It seems a note was being passed from student to student, and the note contained some naughty song lyrics. The edited version of the song is #16 on the local hip hop chart, but students were curious. Someone transcribed the unexpurgated lyrics (which are indeed naughty).

And columnist Slim Smith has issued a call to arms:

If radio stations are really serious about cleaning up the cesspool that is radio, I would challenge them to follow this simple rule: Don’t air edited versions of songs. Period.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, folks.

If we are to stem the tide of filth that so permeates our society, we’ll have to fight it on our own. If stations won’t listen, perhaps those who advertise on those stations will.

From the East Valley Tribune.

ACLU Exploring Suit on Indecency Crackdown

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:34 am

It’s buried in a CNN story about the money aspect of the indecency crackdown, but it’s in there.

An ACLU lawyer says it’s “very likely” that the group will challenge the indecency wars in court.

The Brewing Battle Over Indecency, CNN.

Bush Signs Bowdlerization Bill

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:27 am

President Bush has signed into law a bill that ensures legal protection for DVD content-filtering technology. Hollywood is crying “copyright violation!” It is widely believed that the new law will end up in the courts.

From the CBC.

NBC Agrees to Content Ratings

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:19 am

The last network hold-out against TV content ratings, NBC, has relented.

NBC had taken issue with the content description ratings– ‘V’ for violence, ‘L’ for language, etc. – because they believed the descriptors tromped on the First Amendment. NBC had been airing age-based ratings, however (TV-PG, TV-14, M, etc.).

NBC says it will immediately begin airing the content descriptors.

“Eight years ago, when content descriptors were first implemented, we questioned if they would cause more confusion than they would help. While we believe the descriptors still post certain challenges with respect to consistency with how various networks define them, we are willing to participate, given the broad consensus of the industry to use them. We will do our best to implement classification procedures that make them as accurate and consistent as possible so that they can become a useful resource of additional information about programs for our viewers.”

NBC had received a special tongue-lashing from Brent Bozell over the content descriptor issue.

From Broadcasting & Cable.

Look, Boss! Da Plan! Da Plan!

Filed under
  • Cable/Satellite
 by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:05 am

As promised, the cable industry unveiled its Take Control program yesterday, aiming to educate parents on TV controls they may not know how to use.

Broadcasting & Cable reports:

The general thrust of the campaign, unveiled at a National Cable & Telecommunications Association press conference in Washington, is that the combination of digital boxes, analog boxes, V-chip-equipped sets, and free blocking technology for anyone who asks for it, provides that control today if subscribers can be better educated about the power they already have.

Starting June 1, the on-screen TV rating will be “dramatically” larger, and will be inserted after every commercial break.

The campaign will also include the following:

  • A $250 million parental education PSA campaign
  • Partnerships with Best Buy and Circuit City to supply parental control info at the time of TV purchase
  • Local events co-sponsored by the PTA, giving parents additional access to parental-control information

Bozell is unimpressed. The PTC prez characterized the plan as an attempt “to spin the public with a multi-million-dollar campaign to promote channel blocking and V-chip technologies as an adequate remedy for families concerned about their children being exposed to violent, profane and sexually explicit programming.”

“This $250-million sham,” he continued, “is being foisted on American consumers by the cable industry with the sole purpose of shirking responsibility for its product.”

More from Bozell:

“It is not enough to talk about putting up warning signs,” Bozell stated. “Consumers should have the ability to opt out of cable programming they find offensive and not be forced to subsidize those networks.

“Better yet, why doesn’t Hollywood just stop flooding television with sewage?” he concluded.

The cable industry maintains that so-called a la carte programming is not a viable business model.

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