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Media Regulation
 
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Principles

Biblical principles that guide our approach to media regulation are care of the vulnerable and respect for human dignity and religious freedom. Violent and explicitly sexual portrayals reduce people to objects to be manipulated for one's own advantage or pleasure, thus debasing the personhood of the victim. This objectification of the victim violates the dignity we all share by virtue of our being created in the image of God.

The Issue

What we see shapes our attitudes and actions. Evidence of this is found in the billions of dollars spent annually on advertising. The National Foundation for Family Research and Education (NFFRE) examined 74 studies on the impact of pornography, and found a clear and consistent link between viewing pornography and sexually deviant behaviours and attitudes.[1

Exposure to portrayals of violence can desensitize a person and, in particular, a child to the effects of violence, and can foster a sense of hopelessness and fear. Sexually explicit programing may focus only on the sexual dimension of human nature to the exclusion of all else, distorting the viewers' perspective of people, their worth and their proper place in society.

While parents are primarily responsible for their children, the broadcasting industry and  government regulators bear responsibility for regulating offensive programing. Some parents groups and media monitoring agencies have questioned whether voluntary codes are effectively protecting children from violent content on television. The V-chip was introduced in 2001 as one way parents can protect their children from violence on television.

After holding a public consultation in 1998, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decided that it was not within its mandate to regulate the Internet. While the Criminal Code provisions apply to the Internet, the international and technological nature of the Internet makes detection and enforcement difficult. 

The CRTC regulates religious broadcasting through its religious broadcasting policy. Single-faith broadcasters are required to include "balance" in their programing by providing broadcasting time for other faiths, as a condition of getting a broadcast licence.

Footnote

[1] E. Oddone Paolucci, M. Genuis and C. Violato, The Effects of Pornography on Attitudes and Behaviours in Sexual and Intimate Relationships, National Foundation for Family Research and Education, Calgary, Alberta, 1999, p. 18.

Issue: Media Regulation

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Related Issue: Pornography


Helpful links

The Centre for Faith and the Media provides resources to encourage the media to portray a postive view of religion.

   
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