What do researchers define as ‘media violence’? What kind of assumptions do they make and social positions do they come from? How convincing is the evidence presented in terms of the effects of violence on audiences? Moral panics have occurred in relation to cinema, radio, comics, music, television and videos and video games. Media coverage can be very powerful. There is widespread agreement that when the state controls the media, censorship and propaganda can take the place of accurate information and can be used to a very dangerous effect. Censorship
Censorship is the control of the context and presentation of films – responsibility of the British Board of Film Classification, run by the film industry, gives each film a rating. Ensures that a proper national standard is maintained in films offered for cinema exhibition and in video works supplied to the public primarily for viewing at home. Research into the wider issue of the link between screen violence and violence in society reveals that even violent offenders are no more likely to have seen controversial films then their law-abiding peers, and such films are rarely mentioned as favourite viewing.
But for an increasing number of people the mere possibility that there could be a link makes increased censorship a sensible precaution. (source: GCSE handout) Warner Home Video was responding to this view when it postponed release of ‘Natural Born Killers’ indefinitely. Banning a film can actually increase people’s desire to see it. If violent films are removed from mainstream cinema, audience demand might be met by an unregulated ‘underground’ industry. Different Types of Violence in the Media. Important to recognise differences in which violence is represented in media images. can either be explicit or implicit.
implicit images could lower the age certificate if it’s used in the visual media. Three types of violent representation; ‘Home Alone’ – ‘comic violence’/’slap-stick comedy’, like cartoon violence. ‘Platoon’ can be classified as realistic violence. Based on an actual real-life event. Doesn’t use ‘gratuitous violence’ like in ‘Dirty Harry’ which uses violence for enjoyment / thrill. The effects of being exposed to too much media violence. Researchers cannot agree on how audiences are affected regarding violence. Among the effects suggested are: Imitation – which means that some people will be encouraged to copy the type of behaviour shown.
Cartharsis – which means that by experiencing the violence second-hand, audiences will be able to release their own aggression and frustration, and thereby become more relaxed and non-violent. Desensitisation – which means that being exposed to a steady stream of violent images causes audiences to become numb and accepting rather than shocked or concerned. The biggest criticism of the ‘hypodermic needle’ argument is that it does not fully taken into account how active the audience is in receiving the media The Effects Theory – which means that the media are the most influential parts of out lives. Television, cinema, music…
etc. can be more decisive in our lives than friends, family, school, religion or our own personality. It has more effect and impact. People who want to blame media for real life violence usually use this theory. Uses and Gratifications (violence for pleasure) – means that people use the media for pleasure of information. But we’re in control and we choose whether to experience the media or not. Political Economy – which means those violent images attract audiences. Profiles are better with higher audience figures. Therefore, violent images are important to make money for the television and film companies.