Nanny Knows Best

Nanny Knows Best
Dedicated to exposing, and resisting, the all pervasive nanny state that is corroding the way of life and the freedom of the people of Britain.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Nanny Bans Cartoon Smoking II

Nanny Bans Cartoon Smoking IIFollowing on from my mail to Ofcom concerning the banning of cartoon smoking, I received a reply from them yesterday.

Read between the lines of the "carefully crafted" bureaucratic non response to my mail and, although they claim to have had nothing to do with the ban, you will see that they did pressure Turner to edit their cartoon collection.

Here is a copy of their mail to me, and my response; this is not yet over.....

If Ofcom, as you claim, took no part in Turner's decision; why were Ofcom involved in the first place?

Kind regards

Ken Frost

http://www.nannyknowsbest.com


From: "OCCbroadcast"
Subject: Ofcom Broadcast Complaints Bulletin 67. Tom & Jerry
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 15:26:53 +0100

Thank you for contacting Ofcom. You have raised concerns about media coverage of our report on Tom and Jerry. Perhaps it would be helpful if we explained the actual position.

In Ofcom's broadcast bulletin 67, we published a report on action taken by Turner, the licensee for Boomerang, following its receipt of a viewer complaint about scenes of smoking in Tom and Jerry sent via Ofcom.

You should be aware that Ofcom has taken no regulatory action in this matter and has not banned images of smoking in Tom and Jerry or in any cartoon or in fact any programme.

Independently of Ofcom, Turner decided to conduct an extensive internal review of the Tom & Jerry archive library to reassess the volume and context of smoking in these cartoons. The licensee has subsequently decided to edit any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might encourage imitation.

We are not aware of evidence from research in the UK that shows a direct correlation

between children who see smoking on television with a greater propensity to take up smoking. (However, broadcasters and Ofcom are required to protect those under eighteen and that protection is particularly important where the youngest children are concerned.) Research published in September 2005 by Ofcom indicates that broadcasters are very aware and responsible in the way they include smoking pre-watershed. It is important however that there is editorial justification when smoking is featured in such series.

We noted in the report that "Stylised and comic actions in cartoons are not intrinsically a concern in themselves - including violence and other activity which in a different context would be unacceptable. However it depends on treatment and context. We recognise that these are historic cartoons, most of them having been produced in the 40s, 50s and 60s at a time when smoking was more generally accepted. Depictions of smoking may not be problematic given the context, but broadcasters need to make a judgement about the extent to which they believe a particular scene may or may not genuinely influence children. We note that in Tom and Jerry, smoking usually appears in a stylised manner and is frequently not condoned."

On this occasion, Turner decided to adopt a precautionary approach. As this resolved the complainant's issue, there was no need for Ofcom to look into the matter further. The full report is below.

Yours sincerely

:: Broadcast Support Team

Tel: 020 7981 3040

Fax: 020 7981 3334

Email: OCCbroadcast@ofcom.org.uk

:: Ofcom
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
020 7981 3000

www.ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom broadcast bulletin 67 21 August 2006

Tom & Jerry Boomerang, various dates 2006


Introduction

In two separate cartoons Texas Tom and Tennis Chumps there were scenes involving smoking. In Texas Tom, Tom tried to impress a female cat by rolling a 'rollup' cigarette, lighting it and smoking it with just one hand. In Tennis Chumps, Tom's opponent in a match was seen smoking a large cigar. One viewer complained that these scenes of smoking were not appropriate in a cartoon aimed at children.

Response

Following receipt of the complaint, Turner, the licensee for Boomerang, conducted an extensive internal review of the Tom & Jerry library to reassess the volume and context of smoking in these cartoons. The licensee has subsequently proposed editing any scenes or references in the series where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorised or where it might encourage imitation (for example where, in Texas Tom, Tom tries to impress by smoking). Turner believed however, that editing out all references to smoking, where such references neither glamorised nor condoned, might adversely affect the value of the animation.

Decision

Rule 1.10 of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code states: The use of illegal drugs, the abuse of drugs, smoking, solvent abuse and the misuse of alcohol:

* must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification;

* must generally be avoided and in any case must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in other programmes broadcast before the watershed, or when children are particularly likely to be listening, unless there is editorial justification;

* must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in other programmes likely to be widely seen or heard by under eighteens unless there is editorial justification.

We are not aware of evidence from research in the UK that shows a direct correlation between children who see smoking on television with a greater propensity to take up smoking. However, broadcasters and Ofcom are required to protect those under eighteen and that protection is particularly important where the youngest children are concerned. There are concerns that smoking on television may normalise smoking. For precautionary reasons Ofcom expects broadcasters to generally avoid smoking in pre-watershed programmes. Research published in September 2005 by Ofcom indicates that broadcasters are very aware and responsible in the way they include smoking pre-watershed.

Boomerang is a channel that attracts a large number of children - 56% of its audience are aged 4-14 years. Although historic cartoons such as these may have been made originally for family audiences they are now primarily viewed by children, including very young children, who may be viewing on their own.

Stylised and comic actions in cartoons are not intrinsically a concern in themselves -including violence and other activity which in a different context would be unacceptable. However it depends on treatment and context. We recognise that these are historic cartoons, most of them having been produced in the 40s, 50s and 60s at a time when smoking was more generally accepted. Depictions of smoking may not be problematic given the context, but broadcasters need to make a judgement about the extent to which they believe a particular scene may or may not genuinely influence children. We note that in Tom and Jerry, smoking usually appears in a stylised manner and is frequently not condoned.

However while we appreciate the historic integrity of the animation, the level of editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high. We will look at all such cases individually.

Given Turner's commitment to adopt a precautionary approach, we welcome its review of archive material and action taken to minimise the possibility of harm.

Resolved

3 comments:

  1. Grant8:49 PM

    One of the oddest things about the thinking behind such alleged self censorship is that the children (in this case) are too stupid across the board to allow them to be subject to any influences. Doesn't say much for the educational indoctrination system does it!

    Or does it tell us that they are fearful that such indoctrination really does work based on early influences?

    Or is there simply some sort of self appointed sub-god within Boomerang/Turner who is anto-smoking with a passion?

    I suspect the latter personally. People who seek power and authority should never be given such responsibility without careful assessment and perpetual monitoring.

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  2. The point that they seem to be frightened of, is that young people will see in the old world the liberty they desire being taken for granted;when they return to looking at today's reality they will see that it has disappeared.
    That's what fuck-OffCom is really frightened of.

    At this rate they'll be putting all books in 'public' libraries and expurgating the word 'I'.

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  3. Anonymous12:00 AM

    its sick and wrong that there doing this

    ReplyDelete