Thursday, 4 October 2012

Censorship and OfCom

Censorship law OFCOM
OfCom stands for the Office of Communications, which is a government-approved regulatory and competition authority for broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom. Ofcom was established in 2002 but received its full authority from the communications act 2003. They have control over a wide range of television, radio, telecoms and postal sectors. There aim is to represent the interests of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protecting the public from what might be considered harmful or offensive material. The main areas Ofcom administer are licensing research, codes and policies, complaints, competition and protecting the radio spectrum from abuse.

Detailed examples from music videos
One example of a censored music video is 'make love' by Andreas a russian singer. In this music video there are sexual references, animal abuse showing a dead skinned rabbit, men dancing in skimpy outfits, chains being used on humans and inside body parts being rubed on a persons back. The dancers have eye makeup on to convey the gothic look, all of the people are dressed in black except one woman who connotes an angel as she is wearing a long white dress and has white lips, eyebrows and hair. They have fish net clothing, studded clothing, the man has scars on his body the singer is wearing a skull on his shoulder and his hair covers one of his eyes, all of these things portray evil, gothic, emo, dark neurotic environment which goes against the stereotype of a dance genre music video. During the video the singer shows the triangle sign with his hand which means that he supports the devil, this goes against many religions and morals so that may be partly why the video was censored. Also there are revealing scenes of homosexuality and this may also offend many religions and certain morals. The uncensored music video will only show on youtube after a question pops up to ask if you're over 18 and it requires you to sign into your youtube account. The only other easy way to view it is to go on andreas website and it is on the home page.

Another censored music video is the pop-rock hit called 'this love' by maroon 5 which contains intimate scenes of the lead singer Adam Lavine and his then current girlfriend, as well as these scenes it also involved lyrics with sexual connotations "I tried my best to feed her appetite / To keep her coming every night / So hard to keep her satisfied". Because of those scenes and lyrics MTV only played it after 10pm and took out the word 'coming' from 'keep her coming every night' and they took the word 'sinking' out of the line 'sinking my fingertips'. In an interview Adam says about the lyrics "Yep, that's sexual, all right. I was so sick of typical lyrics like 'Ooh, baby' and 'I love you' and all this vague shit. I thought the more explicit I got without being totally explicit was a nice approach. The little girls would enjoy them, and it would go right over my grandparents' heads."

Michael jackson 'they dont care about us' has replaces MTV replaces words with 'jew me and kike me with do me and strike me. "Jew me, sue me..kick me, kike me; dont you black or white me" Michael Jackson argued to MTV that the song used the words to describe prejudice and that it was poor judgement to select Jewish people as explanatory words.

Specific artists from the music industry

Lady Gaga is a massive worldwide artist and her music has been censored in every country she has radio play in. In Malaysia all radio stations have refused to play her song 'Born This Way' as the lyrics are "no matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian transgendered were born this way" the press associates argue this because "lines in the hit song that encourage public tolerance and acceptance of gays." so as Malaysia is a muslim country being homosexual goes against their religion. Lady Gagas response was defending her music and beliefs by saying "You must do everything that you can if you want to be liberated by your society, you must call, you must not stop, you must protest peacefully.". Another major incident that happened during Lady Gagas 'born this way ball' tour was that Indonesia authorities would not let her go ahead with the concert because Islamic hardliners promised "chaos" if she entered the Muslim nation.

Ever since Rihanna's big change in the music industry in 2011 she has released more explicit material including songs 'S&M' 'We found love' 'cockiness (love it)' and 'Man Down' which have been edited on radios. Rihannas song 'S&M' was released in 2011 as a single and caused a lot of controversy with the media and the public. It was banned in eleven countries, all of the radio plays have been edited versions and the video was banned on youtube because of the sexually provocative scenes but Rihanna over came over that. On BBC radio 1 Rihanna appealed an online attack towards them for playing an edited version which did not include the songs sexually suggestive lyrics. The edited track by Rihannas label is called 'come on'.

M.I.A (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) hit single in 2007 "paper plans" has gunshots in the track and she wrote the song as a response to the U.S. government as they denied her visa in 2006, this song was censored by MTV and 'late night with dave letterman'. In 2010 her song "born free" was banned by youtube because of the content of the video which showed red-headed youths being rounded up and brutally murdered and showed nude scenes of people, but because of all the media and controversy the video spread worldwide across the internet.

Madonna is another artist who has had censorship issues during her career as a singer. In 1990 her music video for the song 'Justify My Love' showed sexual references in black and white of Madonna in barely any clothing, including raunchy scenes with men and women and a few scantily-clad people of questionable genders. MTV banned the video ones they got the first peek, but the controversy only picked the interest in the clip. 260,000 VHS copies of the video were sold and the song spent two weeks on the top of the billboard hot 100 chart.

Eminem debate
I don't think Eminem cares about what his music videos or lyrics convey. I watched a video about censorship on youtube and to sum up what he believes he basically says if someone is crazy enough to be lead by my videos/music they are crazy enough to do it anyway 'music is only entertainment'. He has had a rough up bringing and raised by his mum who had him at a young age so although he knows his songs may include swear words and rude connotations he wants to share his life with everyone and doesn't think there is anything wrong with that. In his music videos he has people imitating other celebrities but in a negative way, for example in 'We Made You' there are imitations of a wide range of celebrities including Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian, John mayer, Jenifer Aniston, Elvis Presley,  Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears, K-Fed, Lindsey Lohan, Samantha Ronson, Halle Berry, Ellen Degenres, Portia De Rossi, Sarah Palin and Jessica Alba. This is only one of his music videos which shows reference in taking the mickey out of celebrities others are 'Just Lose It'  and 'Ass Like That'. He may not care what other people think as it is his music but people who are fans of him and the celebrities he mentions may not like those songs causing less records to sell or may stop being a fan of him.

Provide both sides of debate:

Record label shady records- As it is owned by Eminem they don't have any rules for his music or music videos, I think as long as they are making money and there are still fans supporting Eminem they don't care what he does.
Kiss (radio) - Kiss have a massive audience ranging from 12-26 and everyone has access to listen to it so playing an Eminem song without censoring it may jeopardise there audience and may lose listeners.
Radio 1 (radio) - Radio 1 have a large audience from around 12+, they play a various genres of music so they do appeal to everyone somehow. As they are so big and are owned by BBC they must be strict on what they play, so all of the explicit songs have been radio edited so parents don't have to worry about they're children hearing rude words or connotations.
AKA (music channel) - AKA a british satellite television music channel who are owned by All Around The World productions. They have a niche audience for rap/urban/hip-hop/grime music so Eminems music fits perfectly into their category of artists and the audience who watch their channel will not be affected in a negative way through watching Eminems videos which include bad language and explicit scenes. Some of the other artists they play are wretch 32, Drake, Chris Brown, Cee Lo Green, Dizzie Rascal and Tinie Tempa. Aka was originally called Channel U but became rebranded in 2009 by Mushroom TV, there aim is to provide fresh and exclusive entertainment and to allow the audience to voice their opinions on videos by the power of voting, I think this is a good idea because the artists can see how the audience are responding to their music.
MTV (music channel) - MTV have a very wide range target audience so for them to play a Eminem video may harm there audience, for example the song 'space bound' Eminem gets shot in a bar and this may upset or distraught his fans or may encourage someone to do the same.
Parent of fan -If they don't want there children to listen to the music then they are in command of what they hear most of the time, but as Eminem raps about his live story they don't mind theyre children listening. Also they believe is you bring your children up well they will be fine.
Parents - "Violence, blood and weapons are unnecessary and influence a wrong message, so should not be used. Also sexual references which are inappropriate are shown such as in Eminems video 'Ass Like That' towards the end when he is in the cinema and in 'Just Lose It'  he runs down a street at night naked, which is extremely inappropriate, as it may influence children to do the same."
Fans - Fans know that censorship limits how much Eminem can express, therefore probably don't agree or like when his songs are censored. It isn't just swear words that get blurred out but sometimes by cencoring songs the whole meaning gets taken away for example in the song 'Kim' which was on Eminems album 'The Marshall Mathers' which came out in 2000. The song reflects on Eminems hate for his then-wife Kim Mathers, the song included Eminem imitating her voice and there are samples of the drums from 'When the Levee Breaks' by Led Zeppelin. The clean version which was released had been changed to 'The Kids' and the swearing is cut out.
Fan (lyrics too extreme) - "As a fan, I do like Eminems music but I think some of his lyrics are too extreme. It's fine for him to express his views and tell the story of his live as he has had a rough up bringing and he is a talented artist. But I don't think there is any need for taking the mickey out of other artists. For example in his song 'we made you' it basically takes the mickey out of loads of celebrities at the beginning there is a over weight woman imitating Jessica Simpson eating a burger and washing a car as Eminem says 'Jessica Simpson bring the chorus in' there are imitations of celebrities all the way through the video of Kim Kardashian and there are edits on her bum as she is known for having a big bum. Other lyrics taking the mickey out of celebrities are 'He does not mean to lesbian offend, but Lindsay please come back to seeing men, Samanthas a two your practically a ten' this may offend homosexuals and he is saying the Lindsay Lohans girlfriend is ugly. During the song Eminem himself imitates John Mayer by wearing a hat and casual clothes playing guitar to a Jennifer Aniston imitator and sings 'Jennifers in love with me John Mayer so sit on the bench'. There are many more examples of Eminem taking the mickey out of people throughout this song and I don't think it is necessary, also I think the songs about his life are much better. In his song 'Just lose it' he takes the mickey out of Michael Jackson by losing his nose on the dance floor, and I think this may have upset some Michael Jackson fans as he was such a big idol for many people world wide, this may have also lost Eminem some fans who are fans of Michael Jackson. In his song 'My name is' the lyrics go 'Hi kids do you like violence? wanna see me stick nine inch nails through each one of my eyelids' this may give the wrong idea to young kids, it may influence people like the two young killers of James Bulgers death to do bad things without thinking there is anything wrong with it."

Own opinion
To a certain extent I think that music videos should be censored. If the music video has fowl language or shows rude or disturbing images, I think during watershed hours on tv it should be censored but after that I don't think it should be censored because the artist has made the video how they want to express themselves and for it not to be shown on television it is taking away the freedom of expression for the artist. Although I difinitely believe that music should be censored during watershed because young children look up to many artists today and they can be easily lead by their example. So showing crime, hate and violence in a video may influence them to do the same and as much as parents can try to stop them listening or watching music videos they can't control them 24/7.
Also another point why they shouldn't be censored for example is in Eminems music video for 'space bound' he gets shot in a bar and in a video like Flo Rida 'club cant handle me' there is money thrown around going against many religions and morals and is promoting a life which is hard to achieve but shootings and dying are more realistic as they happen everyday.

When creating my own dance genre music video I have taken in to consideration the censorship law , so that I do not include any harmful or offensive material to the public. As I am aiming to follow the dance genre codes and conventions there shouldn't be a problem with disobeying the censorship law, as most dance videos are performance and concept based, they rarely show rude and inappropriate images. The song I have decided to use for my music video is 'Save the World' by Swedish House Mafia, there will be three different themes. The first theme is a night club, so these scenes will mainly show strobe lights and people dancing. The idea for the second theme is a short narrative in which a homeless man is wondering the streets of London and finds hope as someone comes along and gives him a burger. The last idea is another narrative idea in which a girl is getting ready to go out but gets mugged on her way, the thief gets run over and the antagonist gets her phone from him and dials 999 for an ambulance.   


  1. Your post on censorship shows some understanding of how censorship is used within the music industry. You have made a start with defining Ofcom and you have also considered a range of artists to support the censorship points. But you also need to include still images to support the points that you are making.

    Also within your Eminem debate you need to expand on the points that you are making, by referring the points to more detailed examples from his music videos

  2. The images that you have included help to support the points that you have made. You have also started to expand on some of your points from the debate, but you need to ensure that all your points are detailed too.

    How will you follow the censorship law within your own music video? Consider your choice of song and ideas you have