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Standards and practices question

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Mark Suszko
Standards and practices question
on May 16, 2007 at 4:31:05 pm

Q: What's the rule about showing an actual fatality on the air? Where can I find an FCC rulebook or a court ruling on this? I went thru the FCC site for two hours last night and could easily find all the rules and regs about nudity and obscenity I could wish for, but violent death depictions, specifically car wrecks, nada. Anybody have a source or link they can point me to?


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Chaz Shukat
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 16, 2007 at 5:26:43 pm

I would take the FCC site's lack of info regarding this to mean that they don't have any regulations about it. As long as it's not extremely visually gruesome, in which case you probably can still show it as long as you have unmissable warnings given before showing it that what is coming up is very disturbing images and you may not want to watch or have your kids watch. But whatever you do, for God's sake, don't show a nipple!



Chaz S.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 16, 2007 at 9:43:11 pm

Anybody got a link to a TV station's own S&P rules?


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Del Holford
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 17, 2007 at 5:28:24 pm

I'll see what I can find out - our chief engineer may be of help.

FYI - in our documentary on local WWII veterans we used footage from the national archives showing the japanese shooting prisoners in the head on a pacific island. We rated the show PG14v and ran a warning before the show. We also didn't modify it or stay on it very long. Seeing it made its own impact on the viewer - me included. If the purpose of the footage relates strongly to the topic and is for impact to modify action (e.g.: don't speed in your car) I don't think you'll have a problem. On the other hand I'm no lawyer.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television


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Charlie King
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 17, 2007 at 5:58:08 pm

I have never known of any actual laws regarding showing these types of pictures. It has been more of a moral issue than actual law. It is difficult to state what exactly would be allowed and not allowed. ie you can show cuts of 1/2 inch but nothing larger. See what I mean? Where would the actual line be drawn for legal purposes?
You just have to have good judgement and a little compassion for the injured or deceased persons.

Charlie

ProductionKing Video Services
Unmarked Door Productions
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada


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Mark Suszko
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 17, 2007 at 9:24:00 pm

This would be in a 30-second PSA. Can you show an actual, graphic fatality, and under what circumstances. More to the point, would any station air it?


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Charlie King
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 18, 2007 at 6:16:13 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Can you show an actual, graphic fatality"

The key question here is "Would you want to see someone you knew and loved being shown graphically on Television?"

I believe you can show enough to get a point across without the actual shock factor.

[Mark Suszko] "More to the point, would any station air it?"

You might find someone that would, but do you have the time and resources to find that one station?

Charlie



ProductionKing Video Services
Unmarked Door Productions
Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada


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btveditor
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 21, 2007 at 7:01:39 pm

Good day Mark,

I work for ABC News and we try not to focus on a face or the paticular wound, and most times you try to do it from a far, so that it isn't quite in the foreground. As for a PSA, maybe blur the face or some sort of treatment to tone it down some.

btveditor, out


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grinner
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 22, 2007 at 4:52:08 am

There are no snuff laws revolving around this. It's left up to the programmers to excersise cooth sometimes. I know, that's a scary thought.
Public Service Announements do not require actual documentation of death. Shows with poor budgets and bad writers rely on the shock factor to pull em through but surely you can tell the story with some clever verbage to some well done music over the right imagery.
I'd step back and think of how a famaily member of the person you are hilighting may feel about it. I have no doubt stations would air it. That's not the point, they air bad stuff all day long. Always submit what makes ya proud. Never sumbmit what doesn't.



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Steve Radley
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 23, 2007 at 5:36:34 pm

I edited a PSA about 12 years ago or so that had a line of people handing a gun to each other, pointing it at their head and pulling the trigger. We saw each person do this and hand it to the next. The last person to get it was a 7 year old boy. He held it to his head as we cut to black with the sfx of it going off.
There are many ways to edit to make an impact. Sometimes not seeing but implying is more powerful. People's imaginations run wild.

Steve Radley
Digitec
Orlando, FL
http://www.digitecinteractive.com


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AlexHuber69
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 25, 2007 at 7:22:46 pm

[Steve Radley] "I edited a PSA about 12 years ago or so that had a line of people handing a gun to each other, pointing it at their head and pulling the trigger. We saw each person do this and hand it to the next. The last person to get it was a 7 year old boy. He held it to his head"

Yikes. There is such a thing as taste and responsibility, above and beyond legality. I'm sure that PSA was powerful. It also sounds pretty damn negligent and quite irresponsible. I'm not sure what the producer and/or writer and/or director was thinking (or smoking). I'd be much more worried about the chance of a copycat kid than the message it was supposed to get across (parents locking up their weapons, or whatever). If that producer worked for me, I would seriously re-evalutate his judgment. And probably his employment.

I guess in this world you can't dictate good taste.

A





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Steve Radley
Re: Standards and practices question
on May 29, 2007 at 1:25:23 pm

[AlexHuber69] "If that producer worked for me, I would seriously re-evalutate his judgment. And probably his employment."

He delivered what his client was asking. It was shot well and had great production values, but I never put it on my reel, even though I didn't have much of a reel at the time. It is amazing that bad taste is as subjective as good.



Steve Radley
Digitec
Orlando, FL
http://www.digitecinteractive.com


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