Comm Ii 121 W.A. 4 Essay

908 words - 4 pages

Chance Peterson7/27/2014Mass Communication W.A. 41) Using examples, explain the difference between obscene and indecent materials.The definitions of obscenity and indecency seem to be both very unclear when it comes to a legal, technical meaning for each. As we have moved through centuries of mass media, the ideas of what are obscene and indecent have changed dramatically. What was considered taboo in the 19th century, like the showing of sexually explicit scenes, is now part of one's everyday viewing or lifestyle. As the times have changed, so have we as a society. When it comes to defining and comparing these two words, the legal system seems to have a much more monumental task at hand. What exactly makes something obscene or indecent?Obscenity has had many changes in meaning and legal standing over a period of 150 years. Obscenity was tested for many years by the Hicklin Rule. This standard had the power to deem a book obscene by having a mere passage of the "tendency to deprave or corrupt the mind of the most susceptible person." (Dominck, 2009) This now obscure rule was the standard for nearly a century but was written in the 1860's and has long been repealed. As we moved into the middle and latter parts of the 20th century, the legal meaning of obscenity was altered and made less stringent. One constant that has remained regarding obscenity is its capacity to bring about lewd and lustful thoughts to the individual viewing that material. This seems to be the standard in what has until this day lasted in the eyes of the legal system. While who is to determine what constitutes obscenity and who is to be protected (speaking of children in today's society) by obscenity laws, has mostly been placed in the hands of local juries. There are constantly problems arising as new technology develops and new material is created (Dominick, 2009).Indecency seems to have the same problems as obscenity when the issue is turned to its technical and legal meaning. Indecency also seems to cover more areas of what is inappropriate than does obscenity, such as, music videos displaying females wearing skimpy outfits with no censorship for younger viewers. The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) is the agency which exerts authority over what deemed indecent in terms of its dissemination through mass media. The FCC has issued fines for multiple displays of indecency over the years to many different media outlets. While the FCC exerts control over indecent material, they are in a constant struggle between the rulings of Congress and the federal court system (Dominck, 2009). Unlike obscenity and its connection mostly to lewd and sexual pornographic material, indecency can range from sexual material, cursing, violence or other types of offensive material within the media deemed inappropriate for viewership. It appears...

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