Sunday, February 14, 2010

Amalian and Censorship.

A couple of weeks ago the infamous Amalian group (people in charge of keeping broadcast media in control) proposed measures for official censorship of the TV programming. While unofficial censorship has existed for a long time such as taking independent TV stations like A1+ off the air or denying air time to anything independent or against the regime, the new proposal would try to officially regulate the materials being aired.

I am not going to get into the content of the Armenian TV serials and shows but it is pretty much reflective of the general picture of the society. As everywhere else, these TV stations are a mirror of the society and not the other way around. But there is a little bit of a debate going on and just today I came across an article in Azg where an accomplished actor describes anecdotal evidence of deteriorating youth morale. His wife, who is a teacher, has told him that kids in school walk around with knives in their pockets and have fights during the breaks. He blames this violent behavior on the TV shows.

Well, mister, it's not quite right. I was in school during the Soviet times when the TV was censored pretty bad. The kids walked around in the school with knives and had fights during the breaks. 

When I was 12 years old, a classmate of mine stabbed another classmate in the arm. 

When I was 14, a very good friend and a classmate of mine was stabbed by another classmate. And despite the blood all over the hallways and a classroom, not a single teacher intervened or called an ambulance. It was us who got a taxi and took him to the hospital (actually the guy who was stabbed at 12 years old was the one who carried him on his back).

With the independence, the Armenians did not suddenly become a more peaceful society. Even though there was no electricity and no TV to show violent movies and such, I was mugged on the streets of Yerevan in broad daylight. 

Does this mean that it is the TV that is to blame for the violent behavior? I don't think so. Armenia is a regular country just like any other country in the world. There is violence as much as any other place and we should not delude ourselves that there is something special when it comes to violence.

If you want better TV, change the society. Censorship is not going to reduce the amount of crude language or violence in the society.


Anonymous said...

It is definitly due to values in society. It is human nature to try to be special amongst many. It is how the "special" is defined in a society. if knowedge and work is a majour value that would be the direction, however if the values are theft and bulling that would be the way. The infulance of the TV is to try to put things in the right direction however if the TV bosses are not honest what else can be expected?

nazarian said...

True. While removing violence and foul language from TV probably will not have an effect on the level of violence in the society, I think it may have a positive impact.

Seeing violence on TV de-sensitizes people. They come to accept it as a very normal behavior.

Christian Garbis said...

I agree with you, censorship isn't the answer. People should know better. Armenian society should do better.