Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Alice Martina & Turquoise Mountain

The setting in Kabul, Afghanistan

Most media studies concentrate on media that is reactive to society (news), and media that is passively received (entertainment). Our guest represents global charity in design and arts media. It is an example of how to use media pro-actively.

Turquoise Mountain encourages artisans in traditional carving, as seen in London above, and in contemporary art, promoted in the poster designed by Martina below.

Alice Martina explores the aesthetic of the media through different cultures. Training at Duperré Art School in Paris, first as an environmental designer, Alice discovered set design and got a Master's degree in Fashion and the Environment by developing a multi-disciplinary approach – drawing on the chaos found in the theme ‘Terror as Entertainment’ – creating a relationship between traditional architecture, music and video, around the backstage of the Paris Opera. Right after studying, she assisted Issey Miyake Europe’s Art Director in Paris, coordinating architectural interior designs for the Quai Branly Museum as well as fashion shows and shootings. She then worked at the International Festival of Photography and Fashion at Villa Noailles. She recently went to Afghanistan to join Turquoise Mountain, one of the Prince of Wales’ Charities, as Creative Director for a design company and school for young Afghan designers."20 amazing charities from Glasgow to Kabul" is their slogan.

Turquoise Mountain materials designed by Martina

European Entertainment: Tourism

by Isabella Isbiroglu

Tourism is now a media package, a website, commercials and print ads that extend a place as a branded experience.

This article is from the book Media in the Enlarged Europe: Politics, Policy and Industry, edited by Alec Charles and published in 2009. Brand Europe: Moves Towards a Pan-European Identity is by Rudiger Theilmann. Theilmann believes that certain spheres of our lives such as culture and society have been dictated by commercial rules. He states that, “ The concept of branding has consequently been applied to countries and destinations, accompanied by a growth in self-promoting activities, such as place-branding conferences and seminars, the appearance of new publications and journals, and nation and city brand rankings.” Theilmann explores the idea of branding places and first discusses whether a place can be branded like a tangible consumer product can be branded. Theilmann believes that place-branding can be a concept of its own. He explains that place-branding has distinctions. Destination-branding aims at increasing tourism, while country-branding aims at promoting economic, commercial and political interests.

Sport events are combined with tourism agendas, as well as films and popular media

Theilmann believes that place branding is not an exact formula because the audience experience is shaped outside of the professional’s control. This experience can include mass media, direct experience of the branding objects and the brand communication strategies. Many members of this audience also may have a direct experience between a friend or a family member. Therefore the audience’s experience is less manageable. He adds that the direct experience of a consumer product is more manageable because the marketers have more control over that product than a place. He states that place branding is more audience-driven, where as product-branding are more market driven.
Place-branding therefore tries to offer reality experiences to the mass media and its audience such as cultural events. Brand entertainment also is a factor in place-branding. Brand entertainment is when a brand creates consumer entertainment that could not exist with out that brand. Theilmann also adds that there are many different types of audiences seeking a different experience such as tourists and investors. So a country or a city may have a certain tourism image and a different business image to target both audiences. Theilmann also highlights that these brands need to remain unique because of each city becomes indistinguishable, they lose their value.

Global brander Wally Owens speaks about nation branding

He ends his article by stating that because of globalization, places are becoming increasingly similar to one another. He says because of this issue it is been increasingly difficult for place branding to offer each place a unique campaign. He adds on a positive note saying that if Europe were to advertise itself as a pan-European brand it could profit and each individual country could be viewed as an additional brand asset.

The article is very interesting and places a unique perspective in identifying places as a different form of branding in contrast to a product. I think Theilmann raises many great factors when it comes to advertising a place. Not every audience is the same and many individuals experience a place differently then one another. Going to a place is an experience, rather than something you own. Therefore the approach in advertising must be different in order for it to be successful.

European Entertainment: Sports

by Isabella Isbiroglu

Chapter 9 entitled “More Sports Channels The Advent of Sports Channels in Europe” is another reading by Papathanassopoulos. Papathanassopoulos explores the increase in demand of the Sports channel and its success compared to other genres of television. Papathanassopoulos starts off by stating that sports have always had a symbiotic relationship with broadcast media, but the arrival of digital television and pay TV complicated this relationship. Sports events are one of the largest audience attractions and specifically Europe is one of the most competitive sports markets in the world. Because of the immense success sports radiate private media companies have bought exclusive rights to certain sports programming. Sports used to be an experience that people bought tickets to. Today, we can watch these sports live, for a fee, on our televisions. The main income of sports has shifted from ticket sales to paid programming.

Papathanassopoulos explains the arrival of sports channels in Europe. He focuses on soccer, because soccer is one of the leading sports in Europe so therefore there is a high demand to watch soccer on television. The chapter explains that in 1995 there were only 3 sports channels: Eurosport, a pan-European channel and Sky Sports in the UK and Deutsches SportsFernsehen in Germany. By 2000 there were about 60 sports channels in Europe. Sports have been a major factor in the development of commercial television because of its high demand.

Papathanassopoulos pays close attention to some of these regional and global programming channels that focus on sports including Eurosport, Extreme Sports, channels in larger European countries and channels in smaller European countries. Eurosport generates two services, one being pan-European Eurosport available in 12 languages and Eurosport France. In 2000 it also added Eurosport News. Eurosport features major sports events such as the World Cup, the Tour de France and the Rugby World Cup. Extreme Sports is a part of the UPC and the British Programme distributor Extreme Group International. It airs risk taking sports such as surfing and snowboarding and has a younger target audience. The larger European countries include the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Most of their sports channels are targeted at their local audiences. The UK is the largest sports market in Europe. BSkyB sports channels are the most watched and has about seven million subscribers. France’s Canal Plus covers live sports events and covers many difference services, such as purchasing a season ticket for all PPV games. Spain’s CSD and Via share pay-TV and PPV rights and created Audiovisual Sport II to handle these rights. Germany’s DFS suffered from the lack of popularity from their soccer games. In 1996 DFS launched thematic channels including DFS plus, DFS golf and DFS Action. Italy’s Telepui airs many different soccer games. Papathanassopoulos follows by covering smaller countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands.

The chapter shifts and explains that with deregulation in Europe private television stations started to bid for the most popular sports events. Popular sports attract viewers to purchase programming packages, thus the major companies were willing to spend buy as much as they could. To prove this point Papathanassopoulos adds that between 1990 and 1999, European soccer rights were at about 800% inflation. The chapter explains the fights for rights many companies have gone through in order to play live sports events that attract audiences. Because of this wide attraction there as been serious inflation of TV sports rights. With the spread of PPV and pay-TV the sports market has been increasing in demand and prices have skyrocketed to own the rights to air such sports events. There have been negative events as a result of this inflation, such as the bankruptcy of the rights agency ISL in 2001. To prevent such events occurring again Papathanassopoulos proposes that the sports leagues themselves should handle individually who should have the rights to their games.

Sports events used to cater to live audiences but today they mostly cater to television. Recently, commercial channels have had problems financing the costs of sports and advertising. Sports channels are one of the most expensive programs in the industry and because there is an array of channels made possibly by digital television there has been an increase in TV buying power. PPV and pay-TV are the biggest buyers in this industry and have over all successfully grown from owning sports programming. But because of deregulation in Europe there was a decrease in public programming. This has created numerous side effects including the Television without Frontiers Directive. This directive came about when the EU questioned if it should guarantee all of its citizens the possibility of watching major sports events on television. As a result each EU country had been asked to make a list of national and international protected events that would be guaranteed to the public for free.

Sports channels and viewing has changed over time. We now have easy access to almost any game via our television sets. Digital technology may even change the way we can watch a game with more interactive applications. The text questions if that is necessary since watching televisions is generally passive. In addition, we can now access sports information on the internet including sports news and live coverage.

Papathanassopoulos summarizes this chapter in a some what negative manner. He states, “The advent of digital television and pay-TV in Europe has complicated the relationship between sports and television.” He adds that sports channels are a side effect of deregulation. There is a lack of accessibility for watching sports now because of PPV and pay-TV. In addition, the EU remains nervous because the large media companies swallowing all the rights to sports events, thus making access to these events increasingly expensive.

Papathanassopoulos makes many good points with in this article. PPV and pay-tv make it hard for those who enjoy sports with out a large income to enjoy watching sports television. Even though it is a great way to market and increase revenue for individual companies it creates inflation and over all chaos in regards to ownership of specific events.

The next article is entitled The Racing Driver and His Double by Jean Baudrillard. This article was published in 2002 and according to Wikipedia Baudrillard is a “French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.” This article came from Screened Out. The over all point of this article focuses around Formula One and comparing it as a sport to a product. Baudrillard recalls racing as an experience created by a man and a machine working simultaneously together. Baudrillard compares Formula One to a pyramid where the driver is at the tip and trickles down to the media, television and millions of viewers. But even though the competition of this sport seems to be with in the circuit it is actually with in the world cark market, in the popularity charts and in advertising. Baudrillard takes a clear stance in explaining the transformation of Formula One with in the media. It is less of a sport today than it used to be and is merely a target for branding itself has a commodity. Baudrillard is clearing discontent with the loss of the passion of the sport. I can connect with Baurdrillard’s stance because today most of us enjoy sports through television. The passion is lost because we are not part of the danger the driver experiences any more. We merely experience it virtually instead of being a participant.

Monday, March 29, 2010

European Entertainment: Cable & Theme Channels

by Isabella Isbiroglu

Papathanassopoulos’ book European Television in the Digital Age, Chapter 7 is entitled “From the General and National to the Particular and Local.” This chapter centralizes around the invention of the thematic channel and its importance in European television. Papathanassopoulos explores the history of thematic channel in a strictly informative way.

A thematic channel is a channel that has a target audience that it caters to. A thematic channel only has a certain range of television programs, therefore narrowing the audience’s chooses as to what kind of programming they want to watch. First, Papathanassopoulos explains that the digital technology in Europe allowed thematic channels to target more levels of segmentation. He explains that today we can choose from an array of different specialized channels included sports, history, home shopping, etc.

The thematic channel was a US invention that illuminated much success even though there were smaller audiences per program. Papathanassopoulos explains, “When there is a very limited number of television channels and therefore programm diet, the main bulk of the viewers will be attracted by mass-appeal programming.” He uses the example of HBO’s success, which set a precedent for limiting the range of programs offered. After the success of narrowcasting, Europe followed the US’s example. Canal Plus is considered to be Europe’s first thematic channel. Europe though faced some difficulties. 1) Most of their programming was imported 2) Some of the thematic channels were not restricted themselves to their genre. For example, Deutsches Sport Fernsehen is a German sports channel, but they also will screen movies. 3) Language was also a slight obstacle because some European countries have more than one official language.

The text then shifts to the success of the thematic channels in Europe. There are three primary key factors as to why cable and satellite TV, especially the thematic channel as succeeded. The first reason being the addition of US networks to European television, the second being that the technology to access these thematic channels was only becoming available later on and lastly the willingness of viewers to subscribe to these channels had shifted.
Papathanassopoulos continues by explaining the development of the thematic channel. Some channels had divided themselves up to create thematic channels to target audiences. He states that the most successful channels have been those of sports, news, music and children channels. He describes some of these thematic channels in greater detail including movie channels, home shopping channels, documentary channels, religious channels, ethnic channels and adult channels.

Most of the European thematic channels above, in HD, are American influenced.

Papathanassopoulos notes the importance of acknowledging the range of channels from local, regional, and global. He notes that it is important to realize that regionalization and localization are crucial for survival in order to remain competitive. Regional programming caters to their audiences needs. Papathanassopoulos gives the example of Super Channel failing as an international channel because its programming was English-based. Local culture is essential to programming success. He adds that there are four ways to localizing production: a local language version, the use of interstitial, programming opt-outs, and the creation of the regional channel.

He adds the chapter with a summary stating that new technologies such thematic channels have been made possible with digital television. These international channels can only succeed if they cater to the needs of local regions in order to develop a positive and strong relationship with their audience. Localization is the only way these channels are going to succeed.
The author raises many great points and informs his reader very effectively. This idea is relevant today because we have many thematic channels ranging from HBO to Stars. These programs are expanding internationally and success can only be achieved when these programs tailor there shows to their international audiences. Papathanassopoulos is very clear and informative and uses specific examples to detail his main idea centralizing around the use of thematic channels.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Entertainment Media: Canal + Filmmakers

The young French filmmakers are the most adventurist, or creative, or....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grève on Film

Since the revolution, unrest has been a fixture in French culture. May 1968 was a revival of the zest for rebellion. Jean Luc Godard's film Tout Va Bien chronicles an American journalist, played by Jane Fonda, who becomes trapped in a 1968 grève. The film is a comedy that addresses the more serious questions of class struggle and political power. In the following clip, after the strike, the two main characters go back to work. The man returns to his job directing light hearted commercials but the journalist cannot go back to simple stories.

Click here for Godard's take on the film's cultural importance.

Import/Export, Dubbing, Piracy & Imitations

Media Import/Export
•Although EU countries make more films than the US, 75% of the income of European cinemas comes from American films.
•A study on American media in Europe found that the best evidence of influence was the sudden appearance of American names (Jennifer & Jason in the 1970’s)
•Because of its unique geographical position, Europe is “invaded” by media from both the US and Arabic countries. Recent articles discuss less of the US imperialism and more of an Islamic imperialism.

Dubbing is a major process and business in media, read the basics here
•Dubbing for children’s media is standard since cartoon audio is easily replaced
•The most common US import that is dubbed is Japanimation
•Russia, Spain and Italy dub the most. Germany and Austria are close behind
•France simultaneously releases both dubbed and subtitled
•In some countries dubbed voices become famous
•One study on Spain suggested that dubbing films was an intentional effort at maintaining a national language. In other words, Spain which already had problems with dialects, did not want to support the spread of English
•Croatia and Serbia use subtitles because they do not have master audio recording studios
•Israel (Hebrew & Arabic) and Finland (Finnish & Swedish) are examples where double subtitles are common.
•Dubbing can also be used to censor content on broadcast television
•Some issue with translation of dubs and subtitles create conflict
•The Situationists “Can Dialectics Break Bricks?” was an intentional re-dub in 1973

Media Piracy is the unauthorized copying of materials and selling them. Some argue that it has resulted from demand (There are various types or versions of piracy with different laws)

Confiscated pirate dvd's from the black market

Organized crime in China produces the largest number of pirated dvds. Some argue that communism simply opposes the personal claim for profit on intellectual property.

Counterfeits that do not make an overt claims to be original are considered imitations. Many countries create local versions of global hits in order to customize to language and values. For example, Turkish ET uses a young peasant boy who eventually flies his fruit cart in the sky instead of a bike in the original. See more international imitations here.

The larger issue with imports and imitations is how the media influences the cultural identity. In literature we speak of allegories that no one owns (like a hero) but in capitalism Superman is trademarked. Why or why not should media be cross cultural? Why or why not should it be globally regulated?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Culture & Media

by Katherine Hom

Adorno's essay concerns the mass production of cultural goods, both media and products

Theodor Adorno & Maxhorkheimer, The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception

Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (1903 – 1969) was a German-born international sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist. He was a member of the Frankfurt School. School of neo Marxist social theory. Philosophers of this school tried to expand on the traditional Marxist theory, which they believed, did not explain the development of capitalism. Very critical of capitalism and soviet socialism. He collaborated with Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin. In the 1930s he moved to London and then to New York. He and Horkheimer moved to LA in the 1940s and began collaborating. What resulted was the Dialectic of Enlightenment in 1944, which was revised an republished 1947. He then returned to Germany after the war to work as a professor and director of philosophy and sociology.

Max Horkheimer (1895 – 1973) was a German philosopher-sociologist, famous for his work in critical theory as a member of the 'Frankfurt School' of social research. After university in Munich he moved to Frankfurt where he met Adorno. In 1930 he was elected director of the Institute for Social Research as well as the chair of social philosophy at Frankfurt University. He emigrated to Switzerland, and then to the US during WWII. In 1940 he moved to LA with Adorno an collaborated to create the Dialectic of Enlightenment. He returned to Frankfurt in 1949 where he taught until retirement in the mid 1960s.

I found this piece to be extremely thought provoking but almost off-putting at the same time. The style in which it is written is critical and accusatory of producers especially as well as capitalism as a whole. With this piece, Adorno and Hormeimer hoped to reveal the structure in which producers exert domination over the masses through media. The culture industry uses mass media to circulate cultural commodities to impress the public with ideas and in turn control them and maintain the current power structure.

The 1988 film by John Carpenter They Live showed a world with all media selling similar messages

Swiss Artist Sylvie Fleury, 2002

Those at the top create identical mass culture, feeding identical products with the guise of distinction and originality. They claim that the most powerful, are the company directors of industries, including steel, petroleum, electricity, and chemicals. The consumer is divided and labeled, with a mass produced product assigned to them with the semblance of competition and choice. Capitalism confines the consumers who are the workers, lower middle class. They are helpless victims to what is offered to them and are deceived by myths of success. The culture industry is also the entertainment business, which embeds its trends in the public. It creates a manufactured need. Under capitalism, amusement is manufactured after product of work. Boredom is pleasure because it does not require work or effort, and thus we must be presented with entertainment products we know and can predict. They go as far as to accuse laughter of being “a disease which has attacked happiness and is drawing it into its worthless totality”, claiming that it exists when some fear passes, from physical danger or the grip of logic.

All these ideas reflect what is at the core, obedience to the social hierarchy. This is a point that Tomlinson seems to respond to. He questions the idea that the consumer is a helpless victim, while Adorno and Horkheimer assumes that it is so without going into further analysis.

The idea of having a book, film, soundtrack and media event all extending the same idea onto different products is the result of a culture industry that expands itself across normally distinct media

They claim that all art and entertainment conforms to standard structures, so that we are aware of how they will play out and can be satisfied on a shallow level. These are the products of the culture industry. To be successful in entertainment you must be pliable and fit in until your slight deviation from the norm is accepted and appropriated by the culture industry. Adorno and Horkheimer call this “realistic dissidence”. Those who refuse to conform are powerless, economically, and in turn spiritually. They cannot hope to become “successful”, simply “self employed”. When it comes to consumption, the untried is a risk. The private and independent creators are pushed into the field of the amateur and must accept restrictions from the power holders. The outside world is simply a continuation of the reality we experience on the screen. When it comes to art and style, great works always negate themselves since they do not fit into the preconceived ideas of art, they are irrelevant. However inferior work relies on similarities to others. Culture is classifiable and in turn can be administrated, industrialized. A cultural product is only as respected as the amount of money spent on it. Advertising plays into the culture industry as a gatekeeper to the pseudo-market, keeping small business out. The big companies are the ones who remain at the front, and those who are not supported by advertising are suspect. Goods also rely on advertising to inform consumers of the enjoyment and benefits of products, since these promises of enjoyment of the commodity are never actual.

This work hopes to reveal to us, the masses that we are existing within this power structure, though Adorno does it in a very abrupt way. There is no real concrete solution offered here. Can we escape outside of this culture industry, outside of the power structure of capitalism? And is it better outside of it? If we brush this critique aside we can simply go on with our everyday lives as we knew them. Is it better to be comfortable? Because it is easy, but is it worth it to try to move beyond this?

Media Imperialism by John Tomlinson

John Tomlinson was a director of the Centre for Research in International Communication and Culture at Nottingham Trent University and authored numerous academic articles and contributed to books in addition to cultural imperialism and globalization and culture. He explores globalization through disciplines like sociology, geography, anthropology, history, and communications.

Disney's world wide distribution, here France's Alice au pays des merveilles

Tomlinson explores the idea of media imperialism as it has been studied in the past, with hopes to move toward a more comprehensive idea of what cultural imperialism is and how the two are linked. While media analysts discuss specific cases, his goal is to keep a certain distance to get a better look at the big picture by exploring, critiquing, and amending concepts reached by prior media theorists.

He first outlines three main problems:

    • Specifying what exactly the ‘cultural’ is within the political/economic sphere
    • The “hermeneutic naivety” of the discourse of cultural imperialism – the explanatory simplicity, lacking critical analysis, habit of falling into easy inferences about media effects
    • Cultural imperialism through media imperialism and the link between media and Western culture – what is imposed on other cultures?

Historian and professor, Fred Fejes in 1981 turned to media imperialism as cultural imperialism. He argued that empirical study up to that point lacked a coherent framework and unifying theory. He describes cultural imperialism as “the cultural impact of transnational media on Third World societies.” Two larger issues come into play here.

Political/economic – neo imperialism that structures relations between First and Third World countries, the ownership and control of media. Dependency theory states that former colonial countries are still dependent on the West (capitalism).

Media theorist Herbert Schiller states that multinational corporations have a hand in the economies of the Third world in attempts to exploit markets, natural resources and labor. Multinational media corporations thus act as marketing agents to promote, protect and extend the modern world system, manipulating the audience into good consumers of capitalism. Media then hopes to show the attraction of consumerism and typify a certain way of life in a cumulative way, though specific evidence cannot be gathered.

Distinct from economic imperialism, exists the idea of the ‘Cultural’. This involves the content of media texts, how it is received, and the impact it has on lives and relationships. However there is the problem of quantifying and defining the cultural meaning within media and how this specifically impacts lives of viewers. Many analysts only study the flow of communication and assume the manipulative effects. The general approach assumes that capitalism is culture. So how do we really understand the cultural implications of media imperialism and what is ‘the cultural’?

We look at “How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic” in which Dorfman and Armand try to reveal “the ideological assumptions that inform the stories and that can, arguable. Naturalize and normalize the social relations of Western Capitalism”. Themes discovered include the obsession with money and consumerism, ‘exotic lands as sources of wealth, racial, gender, and cultural stereotypes, and capitalist class relations as natural. However in analyzing stories it is easily possible to come up with multiple interpretations. The question remains, how do ordinary readers read the comics and how are they affected?

This image is from the British National Party on a site discussing the issue of exporting Disney.

It is assumed that imported goods like Coca-Cola and Disney embody some kind of cultural value, and by being present in third world societies they somehow transmit their values to the consumer. Exposure does not necessarily mean adoption.

Next we look at the American TV series Dallas, which was massively popular internationally during the 1980s. The show glorified monetary wealth and power. One explanation of its popularity was that it connected with melodramatic imagination. A study showed that viewers reacted to the show in complex ways, negotiating their enjoyment with their distaste toward the ideology and attitudes towards imports. These results show that the simple idea that simple exposure to a media text does not result in immediate ideological effects.

Click here to see a clip of Dallas

Another study by Katz and Liebes splits viewers into focus groups, stressing that TV watching is not an isolate practice, but involves social interaction to interpret and evaluate. After watching an episode they were allowed an hour to discuss, then asked questions individually. At this level there were examples of extremely divergent readings. Different ethnic groups brought their own values to judge an even reject the Western values established by the show. This reflects actual reinforcement of their own cultural values in opposition to the adoption of Western values. Audiences’ cultural values are more resistant to manipulation and they are more active and critical, thinking in more complex and reflective ways than theorists had assumed.

Quantifying the reception of media text is difficult, since it relies on the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs of the viewer, which may be “insignificantly” changed. There is always a gap between how people will state their views on a text and how they will live their experience of the text in everyday life. The “artificial nature of any controlled viewing of a programme must always introduce an element of doubt about the validity of the findings”. These issues get in the way of empirical investigation along with the problem of interpreting the data.

“I think we were directly or indirectly responsible for the fall of the [Soviet] empire," Hagman told the Associated Press a decade ago. "They would see the wealthy Ewings and say, 'Hey, we don't have all this stuff.' I think it was good old-fashioned greed that got them to question their authority.”

Next we look at Chaplin and the idea that he inspires laughter in an isolated dead-end tropical town in Brazil as well as all over the West. Here the concept of universalism is introduced, the idea that there is something deeply inherent in all people that makes everyone find Chapin funny. However this idea denies essential cultural difference. It also denies the idea of cultural imperialism because it denies that there are fundamental cultural differences. This explanation in this context is only a superficial explanation of Chaplin’s popularity. There is an inference that the laughter of the man is the same laughter of a westerner, simply because it is appropriate at this occasion.

These works indicate that people actively view and respond to texts. Widespread easy cultural manipulation is not possible. Another facet is the centrality of media and in turn, the media message in everyday life. Mass media has been thought to unify fragmented capitalistic society, providing meaningful organization and pattern of experience. But actual lived experience involved a subtle “interplay of mediations” of interactions with friends and family and actual live experience. Real life remains distinct from the represented life of media. Media representations generalize in an attempt to illustrate subjective concepts such as love. These representations may add to our experiences but do not determine them.

In class we considered media and three faiths, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, specifically in kay Adams, "Issues of Culture and Identity in Contemporary France: The Problem of Reconciling a Colonial Past with a Present Reality," and Yasmin Ibrahim, The Mediated ‘Ummah’ in Europe: The Islamic Influence in the Cultural Age.

“Religious Identities in the European Media: A Legal Perspective,” Russell Sandberg

Historically church courts policed the English law of blasphemy, enforce by ordinary criminal court from the 17th century on. Its purpose was to protect the faith established by the Church of England since faith was seen as the root of political and moral behavior. A crime against faith equaled a crime against society and social order. The Criminal Law Act 1967 deemed blasphemy a criminal offence at common law. There had to be two elements present, the external actus reus, and mental mens rea. Here the actus reus meant that blasphemous material was published, written or verbally. Blasphemous material was that which was in conflict with the beliefs of the church, expressed in offensive terms that would shock and cause outrage in church believers. Unorthodox views can only be considered blasphemous if they are published in an offensive way.

The European Convention on Human Rights protects both the freedom of expression and the freedom of religion. It is recognized that they limit each other. The freedom of religion does not guarantee that the religion will not be criticized and freedom of expression carries responsibilities to avoid “expressions that are gratuitously offensive to others and profane”. So in the case of blasphemy it is difficult to determine what is appropriate and inappropriate in certain situations. This balance is highly controversial and delicate as seen the recent scandals involving the Danish newspapers critical cartoons involving Islam and Muhammad.

There were only four cases of blasphemy during the 20th century, and as a law, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolished it in 2008. General public order offenses were put into order to regulate offensive speech and actions as well as religious hate crime legislation. Public officials, protest groups, and the general public, prevent blasphemy by pressure, which could include book banning and picketing. However this could be problematic since representation by protest groups may not represent the public opinion as a whole. This has led to self-censorship.