Exam date

When's the 2016 exam? Wednesday 8th June, am.

Friday, 29 May 2015

IPSO A gender setting: group ruling on Sun discrimination

The PCC attracted censure from the Culture Select Committee for their refusal to consider third party complaints, despite this being covered as acceptable within their rules, and being too lenient on the discrimination seen in much of the press. So this early IPSO ruling suggests quite a major improvement on the PCC.

The basic points:

  • the complaint was about a S*n column (significant as the notorious Jan Moir column which abused Stephen Gately on the day of his funeral was deemed acceptable as an opinion piece) which mocked a trans woman, Emily Brothers
  • the complaint came from a third party (pressure group Trans Media Watch), NOT Brothers (again, something the PCC generally refused to accept) - IPSO will do so if they consider there to be a wider, "substantial public interest"
  • The S*n took steps which the PCC would likely have accepted: offered Brothers a column to respond, and issued an apology from Liddle - ironically, it was the apology which was the clincher; Liddle was deemed to have repeated his mockery, using Emily's former male name, and the paper itself had refused to accept that it/Liddle had been transphobic
  • IPSO forced The S*n to publish their ruling

BELOW: Greenslade's detailed analysis, and the full published ruling.

Sun columnist Rod Liddle has been censured by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) for crudely mocking a woman’s gender identity and her disability. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

EXAMS: A-grade essay examples

  1. The 2014 exam paper
  2. An A-grade exam script from an IGS student (June 2014)
  3. Exam board report (June 2014) 
  4. Sample scripts from June 2010 and June 2011

Below you will find an A-grade exam script from an IGS student, using Film (AS) and Music Video (A2) for the Q1a/1b (1b on M.Vid) and Media Regulation for the 2nd section (case studies: press, film (and TV, not used here)). You will also find the 'Examiner's Report' which considers what students did well/struggled with and is a useful read with lots of good pointers (this includes reflection on coursework too). You can find reports for every year (and more) here, on the OCR site.

First, here's the June 2014 exam paper:

Saturday, 23 May 2015


This links into the government plans for a radical shift in TV censorship, but I wanted to note the Streisand Effect term - one I've encountered several times but could never recall!

Its mentioned in here, though its the linked BBC article that goes into detail.

A word of caution too on this otherwise useful notion: yes, there are clear examples of attempted censorship rebounding, but what about the super injunctions that made it illegal to mention a story or that there was a gagging order?

Why government censorship [in no way at all] carries greater risks than benefits http://gu.com/p/4967n

Friday, 22 May 2015

OFCOM CENSORSHIP Tories may bring pre-broadcast vetting of TV

WOW! Reading this stood outside the AS exam room, what a HUGE story. More shortly...

Theresa May's plan to censor TV shows condemned by Tory cabinet colleague http://gu.com/p/495hn

Thursday, 21 May 2015

WEB 2.0 REPRESENTATION Feminist campaigns against media sexism

I'll come back to this to add more, such as the anti-Page Three campaign ... If you know of any useful links please add as a comment!

My campaign against Zoo Magazine: the well-being of girls should come before profits http://gu.com/p/493y7

MUSIC VIDEO Jailhouse Pop: Sent down for short skirt

Whilst in the UK a largely pliant music industry meekly embraces government proposals to enforce age ratings on music videos, elsewhere rather more draconian measures are taken.

Whilst noting the need to be cautious over applying 'Western values' (a contentious notion in itself) to other cultural contexts, this Ugandan example is rather shocking. Though let's also not forget the history of western, especially UK/US censorship of music videos - read Nurzum's Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America (2008) for an entertaining account of the culture wars that continue to rumble on.

Ugandan singer faces 10 years in jail for risqué pop video http://gu.com/p/4945f

BBC admits impartiality lapses on Israel


Sunday, 10 May 2015

FUTURE Tory government media policy will be...


At this point, nothing is certain, but informed speculation is part of the remit ... 
Some major changes in (de)regulation of (concentration of) ownership + PSB requirements, with the BBC facing major upheaval and deeper top-slicing, possibly even groundwork for eventual privatisation. Channel 4 could be sold off, and restrictions lifted on cross-media ownership. The press, most of which campaigned for this government, will be largely untouched. Alongside economic liberalism (further free market deregulation) will come social conservatism, with moves to impose age ratings on music videos, restrict online freedom of speech and access to adult sites, and give the security forces the right to eavesdrop on all electronic communications, spanning social media, email, phone conversations and browsing history. OfCom to take on BBC regulation?
The fate of the BBC (see Guardian news feed) is likely to be the big media news story


Saturday, 9 May 2015

PRESS POWER It was the press wot won it?

It was always debatable to what extent press bias reflected or shaped public opinion; in the digitised age, press influence is easy to dismiss, but the near-uniformity of anti-Labour flak and the close links between the Tory campaign and press angles (e.g., the vicious attacks on Miliband), to the extent of the Telegraph promoting 'stories' about letters it helped to generate, and the Sun offering to pay for pro-Tory stories, was undeniably a factor. The press brutalised the party (Labour) that dared to propose tougher press regulation; the Tories policy to leave it as it is, with IPSO. Political leaders will remain wary of picking fights with the press. Also, it certainly wasn't Twitter wot won it!
In the1992 general election it was the Sun “wot won it” for John Major’s Conservatives. In 2015 such hubristic declarations seemed to hark from a different era, dating back to a time before the advent of social media and rolling news curbed the influence of the rightwing press. ...

Thursday, 7 May 2015

ATVOD Alive and kicking BBFC rejects

Atvod is worth noting in any analysis of convergence, and is also linked to the BBFC. Be aware (see note below) that it often rules on adult content. It comes from EU law (The Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2007)

The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), formerly the Association for Television On-Demand, is a quango, regulatory agency designated by Ofcom as the "co-regulator" of television on demand (VOD) in the UK. ATVOD was founded in 2010 following a European Union directive on the regulation of audiovisual media. It is responsible for regulating on-demand services such as ITV Player and Channel 4’s All 4, as well as paid-for content on websites which are deemed to be "tv-like". [Wiki]
NB: please note that Gayle's article (linked below) features an image illustrating the theme of adult content, and that many links to AtVod you may encounter will feature discussion of adult content, which seems to have been the main type of media content targeted by it, thus far. Quotes from this include some explicit sexual terms, and are only viewable if you click 'read more'.
QUOTES FROM GAYLE'S ARTICLE [analysis follows]

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

IPSO NUJ condemn it over Hopkins discrimination ruling

The National Union of Journalists has condemned the press regulator’s decision to reject complaints about Katie Hopkins’ Sun column which described migrants as “cockroaches”.Last week, the Independent Press Standards Organisation rejected all complaints that the column, which sparked widespread anger by suggesting that Europe should use gunboats to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean, was discriminatory on the grounds that it did not refer to a specific individual.The NUJ said that by rejecting the complaints IPSO has “thrown further doubt on its own legitimacy” as the successor to the Press Complaints Commission.Only two complaints out of more than 400 have been referred to the Sun, both under clauses of the editors’ code dealing with accuracy rather than discrimination.
NUJ condemns regulator's decision on Katie Hopkins 'cockroaches' column (Mark Sweney, Guardian, 2015)

Whilst reluctant to further Hopkins' rather crude career plan - be loudly objectionable, become the subject of media debate, be a known talking head for hire - this is a useful case study from IPSO, one which can very usefully be compared to one of the PCC's most contentious decisions. Despite being the most complained about story in the PCC's history, they found no case to case to answer from Jan Moir's (another ... delightful columnist) piece on Stephen Gately, marking the Boyzone singer's funeral by linking homosexuality with drug-taking, promiscuity and the assumption that he had AIDS!

A reminder of the Gately ruling, one which did little to bolster the public view of the PCC:
The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint from the partner of Stephen Gately, the Boyzone singer who died suddenly in October, over an article by the Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir.The PCC received more than 25,000 complaints, a record number, after Moir wrote about Gately's death, describing events leading up to it as "sleazy" and "less than respectable".The article, published on 16 October, six days after Gately's death, provoked outrage, with many readers expressing their anger on Facebook and Twitter. Gately's record company, Polydor, also complained.In a ruling, the commission said it was "uncomfortable with the tenor of the columnist's remarks" but that censuring Moir, and the paper, would represent "a slide towards censorship". It added: "Argument and debate are working parts of an active society and should not be constrained unnecessarily."The PCC's director, Stephen Abell said the article contained flaws, but the commission had decided: "It would not be proportionate to rule against the columnist's right to offer freely expressed views about something that was the focus of public attention."Gately's civil partner, Andrew Cowles, said he was disgusted by the article and claimed the Daily Mail had broken the PCC's code of conduct on three grounds, arguing that it was inaccurate, intruded into private grief and contained homophobic remarks.The code says that the press must avoid making pejorative references to a person's sexual orientation, but the commission said that Moir did not use any abusive or discriminatory language."While many complainants considered that there was an underlying tone of negativity towards Mr Gately and the complainant on account of the fact that they were gay, it was not possible to identify any direct uses of pejorative or prejudicial language in the article," it said.
Taken from Robinson, 2012 Guardian article.

Clearly there is a VERY high barrier indeed to having any complaints on this clause upheld. As ever with the PCC and now IPSO, it is worth trying to step back and noting the point about freedom of speech; you may agree or disagree with its application here, but it is an important principle.

The NUJ are notable here ... their voice has been near-invisible in the ongoing 'debate' over press regulation.

The earlier Moir case also provides an example of commercial advertiser pressure not working to impact press content:
16 October 2009 The day before Gately's funeral, Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir writes an article that describes events leading up to his death as "sleazy" and "less than respectable". "Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one," she writes. The article provokes outrage on Twitter, with Derren Brown urging fans to complain to the Press Complaints Commission. More than 1,000 complaints are made by 7pm, causing the press watchdog's website to crash for most of the afternoon. In a highly unusual move, the Daily Mail issues a statement from Moir defending her views, while brands such as Marks & Spencer remove ads from the online version of the article.
The quote above is from a Guardian timeline of the controversy. The Mail would not be budged!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

CHILDREN Hate Mail forced onto top shelf...

No, not really, but as with the MonkeyDust animated satire "Curtisland", this is rather instructive. Chris Morris would surely approve. The absurd red-top response to his 'Paedogeddon' Brass Eye special, alongside articles telling us 15 year-old Charlotte Church was "chest swell", is a great demonstration of the moral panic concept (most notably studied by John Springhall [see book cover below], building on Stanley Cohen's defining work, Folk Devils and Moral Panics).

This is a fascinating read