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Hamilton (2009) argued that the government should have a set of rules that regulate the content on the Internet. His argument is based on the idea of how children can obtain easy access to pornography. He criticized Electronic Frontiers Australia for being overly liberal on the matter of censoring out excessive sexual content on the Internet.

Chia et al. (2004, p. 109) link those who are in support of censorship to the “third-person perception” where ‘individuals tend to perceive more negative media effects on others than on themselves’. There are two reasons behind this. First, censorship is viewed as a method to avoid the adverse effect from media influence (Shah et al. 1999). Second, it could be due to individuals have the intention to penalize the media for the subject of the negative communication (Gunther 1991). In the context of Internet, it is arguable that parents would be in favor of censorship because they want to protect their children from negative consequences (e.g. imitate scenario from the pornography).

Figure 1: Reaction when children saw pornography online.

Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_qUFDMUpk9jE/SoorK_ce5kI/AAAAAAAAXlo/VqEX7ONlkAU/s400/Kids-Pornography-Internet-Censorship-02.jpg

On the other hand, Wang (2003, p. 3) discovered that the use of Internet filter in the schools of United States has ‘block more material than the statuette contemplates’. Additionally, McCabe & Lee (1997) construe that Internet is a global community without limit and attempting to censor materials would contradict the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.

With regard to the sexual content, many extreme libertarians might attribute it to moral relativism. Electronic Frontiers Australia claims that ‘filtering will impose one set of sexual standards on others who don’t share them and this makes all net censorship invalid’ (Hamilton 2009). My opinion is that there should be moderation for the use of Internet access in schools because children are too young to make their own decision. The government should also set a clear parameter on what would be filtered out in order to maintain the freedom of expression endows by the Internet.

Reference

Chia, SC, Lu, KH, McLeod, DM 2004, ‘Sex, lies and video compact disc: A Case Study on Third-Person Perception and Motivations for Media Censorship’, Communication Research, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 109 – 130.

Gunther, AC 1995, ‘Overrating the X-rating: The third-person perception
and support for censorship of pornography’, Journal of Communication,
vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 27 – 38.

Hilmiton, C 2009, ‘Web doesn’t belong to net libertarians‘Australian 16 February, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/web-doesnt-belong-to-net-libertarians/story-0-1111118869227>.

Shah, DV, Faber, RJ & Youn, S 1999, Susceptibility and severity: Perceptual
dimensions underlying the third-person effect, Communication
Research
, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 240 – 267.

Wang, C 2003, ‘Internet Censorship in the United States: stumbling blocks to the Information Age’, IFLA Journal, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 213 – 219.

I have always been a loyal user for Google Book because I could get most the resources I want with just few clicks of the mouse. Google’s ambitious project to scan and make available millions of online books with at least five libraries that include the New York public library and four other universities libraries – Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Oxford in England sounds like a wonderful idea to because we can get access to more interesting academic books online.

Figure 1: Google Book project

Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/epicenter/2009/04/picture-8.png

John Wilkin, as University of Michigan librarian working with Google even commented that ‘this is the day the world changes’ to further epitomize the potential benefits of digitalizes the libraries collection (msnbc.msn.com 2004).

However this might not be the case if you view it from another perspective. In the year 2005, five major publishers (Simon & Schuster Inc., McGraw-Hill Cos., John Wiley & Sons Inc., Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Pearson Education Inc) had sued Google Inc. because they viewed the project as a form violation of copyright (washingtonpost.com 2005). According to the U.S Copyright Office (2009), copyright infringement occurs ‘when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner’.

After three years of lawsuit that challenged Google’s Book Search program, the giant search engine had agreed to pay $125 million to settle the lawsuits (Synder 2008). Some said Google could be subjected to a much hefty infringement penalty such as $700 to $150,000 per book. What could be argued from this is that the Copyright Act has a loophole. Bredeson (2003) points out that the Fair Use Doctrine within the Copyright Act allows for some “fair use” of copyrighted material without penalty. This means if one is not making a profit from copying a work, then it is considered as a fair use. In the case of digitalizing books, the stand is clear because the main purpose of this program is to ‘preserve knowledge in libraries the world over and make it more widely available’ (Synder 2008).

Reference

Bredeson, D 2003, ‘Thumbnail reproductions, imported images, and copyright infringement on the Web’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 31, no. 1.

Msnbc.msn.com 2004, Google to scan books from major libraries, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6709342/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/print/1/displaymode/1098/>.

Washingtonpost.com 2005, Publishers sue Google to stop scanning, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/19/AR2005101901463.html>.

Synder 2008, Google settles book-scan lawsuits, everybody wins, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2008/10/google-settles/>.

U.S Copyright Office 2009, Definitions, viewed 18 November 2009,
<http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html>.

Photographs always assert a certain amount of influential power in portraying messages. The interpretation of each individual is rather different from each other due to their cultural background (Walsh 2006). For instance, what might been see as offensive to a society might not be the same for other communities. Schriver (1997) points out that it is hard to apply meaning to signs without cultural knowledge. This leads to photo manipulation by the editors in order to make the photographs more appealing to a targeted audience according to their cultural frame of reference.

Figure 1: FHM in Malaysia

Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_z891-gYizKg/SSqG8S3jzgI/AAAAAAAAAB0/gQp98xB8TjQ/s400/FHM-Cover-December-lo.jpg

Figure 2: FHM magazine in Australia

Source: http://i43.tinypic.com/2vdjyu8.jpg

The photographs of the model look much more conservative for the Malaysian cover because of their culture background with Islamic religion. As for the Australia cover, people over there are generally more open about their body image and thus, more revealing photographs are selected and amplified certain revealing body parts to cater the Australia audiences. Therefore, photo manipulation based on different context governs the meaning-making process for the audience (Halliday & Hasan 1985).

If photojournalism is used correctly, it may help to bring in more readers and boost up the sales of the magazine. But, what would happen if a photograph was edited or falsely represented in such a way that offense the government? Reaves (1989) construes that miscommunication would occur when image manipulation is abused. Most of the media agencies are subjected to licensing and have some relationship with the government. Hence, if the media did not depict photographs that are in favor by the government, the authorities might ban it from the public.

Figure 3: Portrayal of Jesus smoking in Makkal Osai

Source: http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/jesusbeercigaretteimage.gif

In Malaysia, Makkal Osai is famous for its portrayal of Jesus smoking. The government had temporarily shut down that newspaper due to the depiction is considered as an insult to Christianity. From this, it could be argued that visuals do have a great impact in conveying the message intended by the document designers.

Reference

Halliday, M.A.K & Hasan, R 1985, ‘Chapter 1: Context of situation’ in Language, context and text: aspects of language in social semiotics, Deakin University Press, Waurn Ponds.

Reaves, S 1989, ‘Digital alteration of photographs in magazines: An examination of the Ethics’, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Schriver, KA 1997, Dynamics in document design, Wiley Computer Pub, New York.

Walsh, M 2006, The ‘textual shift’: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 24 – 37.

Webisodes are short series of episodes that available to stream or download from the Internet. They usually served as minidramas produced along with established television series (Hale 2008). But of course, the making of original material is another driving force behind the emergence of webisode.

In the article “Webisode for Kids”, Chris Corbett talks about the production of webisode for children and the trend behind this new medium. Nowadays, children are easier to get influenced from their viewing experience with the Internet. Donnelly (2008) found that children do not have the capability to think mature and make wise decisions. Any violence content should not be included in webisodes targeted at children. But again, there is no censorship law online and most producers continue to include scenes that are gory to children.

Figure 1: Violence scene from Happy Tree Friends

Source: http://happy-tree-friends.download-tvshows.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Happy-Tree-Friends.JPG

With regard to format, webisodes are often view from web streaming or mobile devices. This creates a problem on viewing compatibility. Most of the webisodes ‘are both digitally and aesthetically ‘locked’ to the technical properties of a single platform, device or, delivery protocol’ (Dawson 2007). In other words, the producers forget about the possibilities that their production will be played on other screens. Since webisodes are designed to fit only to small screen, there will be some viewing difficult when they are watched in television and such.

Also, when caters to children, the length of webisodes should be around 5 minutes. This is because they have a rather short attention span. Kress & Bearne (cited in Walsh 2006) states that children’s life experiences are based on ‘logic of the image’ and ‘logic of the screen’. In order to enhance communication with them, an incorporation of digital modes that combine visuals, words and images could maximize the effect. Hence, using an appropriate format and content could successfully reach out for children as they have the potential to become an important audience for future production of webisodes.

Reference

Dawson, M 2007, ‘Little players, big shows’, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol 13, no. 3, pp. 231 – 250.

Donnelly, K. 2008, “Youth Participation and Media Literacy on The-N.com”, Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education, Vol. 8, No. 1, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/5w64702214k28083/>.

Hale, M 2008, NBC Bridges Series Gaps With Online Minidramas, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/arts/television/29webi.html>.

Walsh, M 2006, The ‘textual shift’: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 24 – 37.