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Light 'slap' Likely For Reality Tv In Australia


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The following article was posted on February 8 in The Australian Media

THE Australian Communications and Media Authority inquiry into reality television programming is likely to leave Communications Minister Helen Coonan with little room to move if major submissions to the inquiry are followed.

Senator Coonan instructed the ACMA to hold the inquiry after vociferous complaints about the "turkey slapping" incident in Network Ten's Big Brother household last year. But Media understands a number of submissions will argue that the incendiary incident didn't occur on TV, rather streaming internet, and the industry's response was swift and satisfactory. An ACMA spokesman said a number of parties had been allowed extensions for their submissions and they would be made public "some time next week". The authority is on track to deliver a report to the minister in April.

Major submissions from TV industry lobby group Free TV Australia, the Screen Producers Association of Australia and the Australian Screen Directors Association are expected to argue for, essentially, the status quo. Sources suggest they will defend the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice and its implementation. Any recommendations are only likely to concern clarification of ACMA's guidelines.

Also, the inquiry's attempt to define reality TV as a sub-genre worthy of particular regulation will be argued against. Some submissions explain live TV is the genre and reality TV should be regulated just as would any other form of broadcast.

While a number of interested critics of reality TV, or Big Brother in particular, including Family First and Young Media Australia, have made submissions, one interested party suggested any major upheaval of the regulatory framework for such programming is unlikely.

"The heat's gone out of the issue and it was dealt with pretty well when it happened," they said. "But who knows what will happen in an election year?"

However, one submission seen by Media labels the industry's code of practice as "pathetic". There will be much political polemic in some submissions, with some in the TV industry fearing the recent Celebrity Big Brother row in Britain might have reignited community concerns here.

But the "victim" of racial vilification, Shilpa Shetty, in that instance was voted the winner and the "racists", including popular star Jade Goody, were pilloried. Southern Star Endemol is also said to be casting "more adult" Big Brother contestants for the upcoming series, with one intention being the expected reduction of juvenile behaviour.

While TV industry groups might be expected to support the industry code, their case is likely to be supported by an independent submission from nine academics, including University of Sydney's Associate Professor Catharine Lumby and Dr Kath Albury, and University of Queensland's Professor Graeme Turner.

Media understands it draws together much empirical research on reality TV and debunks a number of misconceptions about reality TV's audience and their ability to enforce "community standards" through their viewing. It also contends reality TV contributes to social learning and public debate, a notion recently emphasised in the British experience.

The variety of sanctions able to be imposed upon breaches of the code and the manner in which ACMA's guidelines can be enforced will be a major focus of submissions. It is believed Free TV will propose advisory notes be formulated ACMA for clearer understanding of the guidelines.

Opponents of the code will argue for swifter penalties, including in some cases, immediate removal of "offensive" programs.

My take on this article is that since the Turkey Slap incident took place on Live Stream and not on Live TV there is little room for action by the governing body for TV broadcasting. additionally, it is felt that the action taken by the Big Brother Staff was swift and appropriate for the nature of the offense. Basicly, the incident is over and lets get on with it.


Hank :ninja::ninja::ninja::ninja:

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I think they did over react a bit. Camilla never complained about it. It would have been a different story if she went to BB and told them it was a problem. But they never gave her the chance. As soon as it happened they pulled the guys into the DR and kicked them out.

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  • 1 month later...

I am curious about the part that goes:

Endemol is also said to be casting "more adult" Big Brother contestants for the upcoming series, with one intention being the expected reduction of juvenile behaviour.

Hmmm... BB1USA started with an older, more mature `diverse` group. However, over the years CBS migrated to a "sex sells" mentality to attract younger viewers and to satisfy the advertisers. The must haves now are young, attractive, sexy and with a Colgate smile. Am I wrong to assume this is the current trend world wide?

I think that BBAU will NOT go to an older household. They will stay with the "sex sells" mentality as well, especially because of their adult content section. So what could "more adult" contestants mean and how will they eliminate juvenile behaviour? Higher scholastic scores from the kids to qualify? Higher IQ`s or perhaps community involvement requirements?

Now I have to wonder if Howie and Mike using the backyard "jack shack" last season on BBUSA was considered juvenile behavior... But I digress... Anyway, should be fun to watch, no doubt...

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With Perry last year being the oldest housemate "ever" on BBAU at 39, I tend to agree with you Camper. I think that the "more adult" just means that the selection criteria that will be used will be one of a more mature outlook on life in general with probably a lower age limit of 20 to enter the house. Since the drinking age in australia is only 18 (the same age as the lower limit for entry to the house) alcohol consumption will only be limited by 1) availability and 2) personal limitation. So the behavior in the house will be governed by how a person views what is acceptable and what is not. If a person acts like a jerk on the outside then he/she will probably act like one in the house.

If you watched any of the vids from the auditions last year, you can readiy see who acted wild and who didn't. Katie certainly showed a wild side in her bright green and red outfit she was wearing at the auditions in Perth.

Hank :ninja: :ninja: :ninja: :ninja:

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