Censorship of Film and Television What is Censorship? It is the practice of officially examining books, movies, film, etc. , and suppressing unacceptable parts. Censorship usually takes place based on religious, moral, or personal reasons. In Film, censorship has taken many turns and it is continuing to encounter many conflicts. Broadcasting organizations along with the FCC (Federal Communications Center) and the AFA (American Family Association) are supposedly doing everything in their power to ensure that no indecency airs.

Despite these claims and attempts, failure is inevitable due to the continual growth in immorality and societies thrive off of indecency. Today, everyone has access to all types of media, and in order to ensure that the viewers are watching age appropriate material is up to the parents to censor their children, not the government organizations. Censorship has been an issue amongst the FCC and film producers since the beginning of the film industry. In order to receive successful feedback, film producers create films based on the desired content of their viewers.

In the fight against immorality, The FCC upholds the Hays code and certifies films that limit indecency. In 1928, only 47 out of 572 films received the seal of commission and obtained copyrightable rights and screening in theaters. The unapproved movies leaked into theaters and became box office hits. Catholics everywhere were outraged and began boycotting all film. Hollywood became convinced that necessary remedial actions must take place, so the PCA (Production Code of Administration) was created under Joseph Breen who reviewed material in accordance to Catholics beliefs.

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The new organization improved censorship, but the issue still cannot be fully suppressed. Broadcasting networks have come up with ways to deal with indecent and offensive material, but many methods are not entirely effective. One method is bleeping, in which profane words are bleeped or indecent images are pixilated. This method is used throughout television and film history, but errors are still present and the occasional words or scenes still appear. In the film “The Outlaw” (1943), nude scenes with Jane Russell were supposed to be bleeped or removed, but when the movie screening in theaters took place, either of the two actions were taken. Another method is suppressing live feed entirely. When something offensive takes place or a death occurs, broadcasters will suppress the live feed immediately, using the 5 to 10 second buffer between filming and airing the events. At the super bowl half time show in 2012, M. I. A. stuck up her middle finger during the performance, and the film engineers were too late to prevent the live feed from playing to millions of viewers. In attempts to censor indecent material, the FCC and the AFA have grown more and more reluctant in maintain morality and standing against the push of indecency in society.

Reporters in the Los Angeles Times claim that the AFA is spending millions of useless dollars in order to control immorality. Instead, they should create better programs that will benefit their viewers. The AFA pretends to be fighting the provocative material to the attention of children, but the main stream and the immorality in society has grown to a new height that has brought organizations like the AFA and the FCC to the down low in intervention. Even the FCC admits that they do not monitor TV broadcasting, and censor based on caller complaints.

Since the reliability of these organizations is questionable, parent must take the initiative in order to protect their children and prevent the viewing of indecent and offensive film. As the film industry has boomed and television is taking on a new level, broadcasting organizations fail to limit or suppress indecency in films. The acts of censorship in film against profane and indecent material still elude their attempts. Since these organizations are not capable to ensure that 100% of the time viewers view censored material, the final task of censorship lay in the hands of the parents.


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