Paragraph 1- Introduction:
- Media regulation has changed greatly over time, from being generally stricter in the past, to now being less strict as society has changed and regulation has been adapted to societies new views and opinions.
- It is generally argued that media regulation is needed in order to protect the vulnerable, inform people about harmful content, and to allow people to make informed choices, however, not everyone has the same opinions.
- Regulation should be non-governmental and done by a selection of people that have no power or authority in society, so that they have a neutral outlook.
- The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent non-governmental organisation that was created in 1912 in order to standardise film regulation in the United Kingdom. The BBFC regulate cinema releases and dvds.
- PEGI (Pan European Game Information) also runs a rating system that rates video games in order for people to make more informed choices when purchasing games.
Paragraph 2- Past:
- Film regulation used to work well in the past, mainly due to the fact that the only main way of viewing video games was by going to the cinema, and there was a physical gatekeeper there that prevented younger people viewing the films. However, now that the internet exists, it is very easy for people of a younger age to view regulated films.
- Films used to be a lot stricter regulated compared to how they are regulated now, for example, the BBFC used 43 rules that they tested films against, which included things that would now be allowed in certain rating categories.
- The BBFC used to regulate video games as well as films, however, PEGI took over this role due to a rise in the amount of video games being released.
- PEGI has started to become stricter as video games have started to become far more realistic, and many video games have been blamed for certain crimes (e.g. A 14 year old boy shot his father and his brother and it was said that the reason why he did it was down to Grand Theft Auto V).
Paragraph 3- Present (films):
- In order for a film to be shown in a cinema, it has to have a rating from the BBFC, and there is therefore a physical gatekeeper preventing younger audiences from viewing extreme films.
- Although this regulation of regulation has stayed relatively similar, other types of regulation have become less effective, and the internet has played a large role in this. People are able to access almost anything on the internet, and they often do not have to clarify their age before viewing or purchasing a film. This has led to many young people having access to films that aren’t classed as being appropriate for them by the BBFC.
Paragraph 4- The Human Centipede 2:
- The Human Centipede 2 is a horror film that was initially released in June 2011, however, the BBFC decided that it was too extreme for even an 18 rating, and therefore made it unable for viewing in the UK.
- The film contained extreme sexual violence and nudity and the BBFC stated that ‘no amounts of cuts would allow them to give it a certificate’, however, just 4 months later in October 2011, the film was given an 18 rating after over 2 minutes of cuts.
Paragraph 5- Hate Crime:
- In March 2015, Hate Crime was submitted to the BBFC for a rating, however, it was rejected and it is therefore unable to view in the UK.
- The film wasn’t given a rating due to the fact that it contained a large amount of violence, including sexualised violence, drug abuse and racial abuse.
- This film shows effective regulation from the BBFC as the film was rejected, meaning that it was unable to be distributed in the UK.
Paragraph 6- Present (Video Games):
- In order for a video game to be distributed in the UK, it has to have a rating from PEGI. This regulation allows European parents to make informed choices when buying computer games. The age ratings provide a reliable indication and idea of the suitability of the game content, in an attempt to protect minors.
- Video Games are much newer than films, and therefore regulation of them hasn’t changed greatly. However, video games are becoming more and more violent as society is becoming desensitised to existing content.
Paragraph 7- GTA V:
- Grand Theft Auto V was released in 2013 at an 18 age rating from PEGI, however, there was a lot of controversy with this rating.
- The controversy was due to the games violence and depiction of women, the game received over 20,000 negative comments on Gamespot, largely due to its portrayal of women, as the women in the game are created with stereotypes and greatly sexualised.
- Hypodermic needle theory- In 2014, a 14 year old boy killed his dad and his brother with a gun that was similar to one that is available to be used in GTA. The young boy also told the police that he committed the crime because he wanted to be like the main character (Trevor) in GTA V.
- This shows that the regulation of this video game has not been effective, as a 14 year old boy was able to get hold of the game, and the consequences of him playing the game at that age have resulted in two deaths.
Paragraph 8- Sniper Elite III:
- Sniper Elite III was released in 2014 by Rebellion games, and it was given a 16 rating by PEGI, despite it in involving a large amount of shooting and weapons.
- Sniper Elite got a mixed amount of reviews from critics after its release, and many said that the game lacked narrative.
- The main issue with the game was the ‘X-ray kill cam’, this kill cam shows graphic and realistic violence of a bullet going into the victims body. The main problem with this feature was that it is only shown when the player makes a successful shot, meaning that it is like the player is rewarded with even more graphic violence for doing something violent.
- Although no major crimes have happened as a result of this game, many people think that PEGI rating it at a 16 wasn’t the correct decision, as the game involves an extreme level of violence, which is too extreme for 16 year olds.
Paragraph 9- Conclusion (future):
- Some forms of regulation of the BBFC and PEGI are effective, such as cinema regulation as there is a ‘gatekeeper’, however, other forms such as DVD selling/viewing aren’t as effective due to films being available on the internet, and having no control over who views/plays a film or video game after it has been bought.
- Therefore, over time, the effectiveness of media regulation has decreased due to the rise in technology, including the internet and piracy.
- In the future, the regulation system is unlikely to get any better as things such as the internet and piracy will more than likely still exist, and possibly exist in an even more extreme and easily accessible way.
It can be generally argued that regulation is needed in order to protect the vulnerable, to inform people about harmful content and to enable people to make informed choices, however it is questionable as to how effective regulation actually is. Media regulation has changed greatly over time, from being generally stricter in the past, to now being less strict as society has changed, and regulation has been adapted to societies new views and opinions on issues. The effectiveness of regulation depends greatly on how a film or video game has been distributed, as regulation is becoming less and less effective now that buying films and video games over the internet, where you don’t have to prove your age, is widely available. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent non-governmental organisation that was created in 1912 in order to standardise film regulation in the United Kingdom, and all films that are released in the UK have to have a certificate from them. The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) is an independent organisation that was created in 2003 that regulates video games in order for people to make better informed choices about the content that they subject themselves to, and all video games that are released in the UK have to have a PEGI rating.