Mass Media

Understanding the current reality 1a. What does the term “the mass media” refer to? • Refers to all media technologies which are used for mass communications. • Organisations which control there media technologies. 1b. Which examples of the mass media would you categorise as “traditional media” and which as “new media”? • Traditional media o Television o Newspaper o Magazine o Billboards o Radio • New Media o Internet o Mobile device o Interactive television o CD-ROMs o DVDs o Online games 1c. What do you understand by the term “social media”? The means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. 1d. What might be the purpose of the mass media to different groups of people? • Bloggers uses mass media to share information and views. • To communicate or interact with other people globally and to keep in touch with friends. • For entertainment purposes, such as watching videos or playing games. • Businessmen do business online and use these social networking sites to respond to customer queries. For the government to promote their plans for the county. • Reporting of latest news. • Reporting of findings or research results done by researchers. 1e. What factors might have given rise to the need for censorship? • The need for the removal of materials that are obscene or morally questionable. • To prevent free expression that might foment rebellion and to exert control over the populace, Governments hold back information from their citizens. • The need to counter espionage, keep military intelligence and tactics confidential away from enemies. The publishing of information that portrays one’s business or business partners in a negative light might cause editors in corporate media outlets to intervene.

• There were incidents in the past where media reports have caused racial riots and the shedding of blood thus the need for censorship may not allow such incidents to occur. 1f. What are the concerns arising from a lack of or an excess of censorship? A lack of censorship • Parents are worried for the corruption of children (violence, sexual content, profanity). Offensive material (racism, sexism, etc) may surface on the Internet. • May lead to military information being exposed that could be used by enemies. An excess of censorship • It may hinder the ability for some people to freely express their views and beliefs. • Hinders one’s rights to freedom of speech. • Citizens are being kept in the dark from the current affairs. 1g. How have new forms of media added complexity to the issue of censorship? • New media promotes active democratic participation which increasing censorship would quell. Censorship in the new media is much more a difficult task compared to that of the traditional media, as the government cannot control articles being spread in the social media. • With additional platform of media, it is difficult to managed items being properly censored. • Constant addition of new forms of media to the long list of media that already existed, hence the rate of censorship is slower than the rate of new media surfacing. Recognising the different perspectives 2a. How is the accuracy and reliability of the mass media perceived in different societies? In third world country, their mass media maybe accurate but unreliable. o As their technology is not that advanced; o it requires more time. o Hence the articles they release may have been delayed.

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• In industrialised country, their mass media may be reliable but inaccurate. o Many newspapers and television stations think twice before reporting a story that might be damaging to their advertisers; o will choose to avoid the story. o Hence it becomes inaccurate. 2b. Can we trust the media to report the truth? • No, we cannot trust the media. o The media will exaggerate and even manipulate news to create conflict. To attract viewers, listeners, and readers to the media, they only publish news that is more customers orientated. o Often in the media’s interest to not only report conflict, but to play it up, making it seem more intense than it really is. • Yes, we can trust the media. o Information can be relayed quickly in times of crisis (e. g. hurricanes or earthquakes), allow people to take precautions and move out of harm’s way. o The media presents relevant photographs or videos that was taken on the crime scene and such evidence can be trusted. 2c.

Should control of the media be left solely to the government? • No, control of the media should not be left solely to the government. o The government will be spreading propaganda in the nation. (e. g. North Korea) o Any present source of government controlled media is not interactive, meaning it is a one way projecting media. o By repeating the same things over and over on several channels with only a biased point people inevitably buy into it. • Yes, control of the media should be left solely to the government o Otherwise, anti-government groups can spread their own propaganda. By openly voicing out their dissatisfaction and try to change one’s beliefs online by videos. 2d. What is the impact of new media on traditional forms of media? • Lesser people are using printed materials as they could get them on the Internet more conveniently. • News can be published anywhere at a faster rate. • People tend to search for information on the internet nowadays instead of searching through books. (accessibility) • New media is rapidly becoming mainstream in the society as it is also interactive. 2e.

Do the mass media reflect what is happening in real life or do they shape what happens in real life? • Mass media reflect what is happening in real life o By providing images of experiences most people are unlikely to have (example: the life in prison) shows what’s happening in reality. o The media reports on events happening around the world daily. • Mass media shape what happens in real life o Example: after the attacks of 911 the media gave a huge coverage of the event and exposed Osama guilty for the attack as they were told by the authorities. This shaped the public opinion to support the war on errorism, the same happened with the war on Iraq. o If the media received inaccurate information then the public opinion supported a wrong cause. Examining the local context 3a. What recent developments in your society have put the spotlight on the use of the mass media in Singapore? • 3g accessibility • Smart phones • Cultivating the use of tablet PCs in schools • More social networking websites • Vastness of the Internet • More electronic gadgets 3b. What are the means of censorship in Singapore? • Ratings for films and videos o G (General) – Suitable for all ages. PG (Parental Guidance) – Suitable for most but parents should guide their young. o PG13 (Parental Guidance Strongly Cautioned – Suitable for 13 And Above) – Recommended by the CRC in 2009, the PG13 rating is given to films with content deemed unsuitable for young children but for which a NC16 rating is not warranted.

May contain moderate violence with some details, some mature themes, intense and realistic horror, moderate sexual imagery, mild sexual activities, partial/side nudity, discreet drug use/references and moderate coarse language including brief strong usages NC16 (No Children Under 16) – May contain brief scenes of frontal nudity with/without semi-sexual context, moderate sexual activity without strong details, graphic violence/gore, drug use with some details, strong coarse language and may offend religious people. (This classification was introduced in 1993) o M18 (Mature 18) – Nobody under age 18 is admitted. May contain full frontal nudity with moderate details in semi-sexual context, strong graphic violence/gore, frequent strong coarse language, frequent drug use with some details, strong sexual activity with some details and may offend religious people. This classification was introduced in 2004) o R21 (Restricted 21) – Nobody under age 21 is admitted. May contain graphic full frontal nudity with/without sexual context, sequences of explicit and prolonged simulated sexual activities, moderate homosexual sex acts, pervasive strong coarse language, very strong graphic violence/gore and torture, detailed drug taking activities/sequences and may offend religious people. (This classification was introduced in 2004) o NAR (Not Allowed for all Ratings/Banned) – Contains issues that are likely to cause controversy in Singapore. Ratings for video games o ADV (Age Advisory) – Anyone can buy a video game with this rating, but it’s not recommended to children. Contains mature themes, some violence with little or no blood, mild drug use, implied sexual activity, partial nudity and infrequent explicit language. o M18 (Mature 18) – Nobody under age 18 can buy a video game with this rating. Contains adult and/or offensive themes, realistic depictions of violence with/without blood, strong drug use, nudity with/without sexual context and frequent explicit language.

Party political films (films that are made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore) have been banned. • Materials going into the home are more heavily censored than those going into the corporate world, such as the news that is reported daily or on printed media. • MDA introduced safeguards to prevent unsolicited access and protect younger readers. 3c. What are the different views and concerns with regard to application of censorship in Singapore? The majority of Singaporeans (70%) supported the current content guidelines. • The concern for protecting the young and core Asian values is still very strong. • Singapore is too restricted in the programmes on local TV thus causing the number of people watching local TV to drop. TV channels should be more adventurous and open to programme concepts that are not ‘safe’. • There is a lack of security solutions for broadband Internet on mobile phones. • The power to ban films should be rescinded. The recommended regulatory regime should be one that only classifies films and zones their distribution – where “zoning” can mean both spatial zoning in the case of cinemas and time zoning in the case of broadcasting. • Previous censorship guidelines treat homosexuality as an issue by itself with regulatory handling more restrictive than depictions of heterosexuality; the new recommendations should insist that there be no differentiation, in the interest of non-discrimination and secular equality, and in the interest of maturing Singaporeans’ minds.