Culturally Sensitive Television Programming

Length: 4 Pages 881 Words

The vast reach of the television medium, and its high visual impact, has led to a great deal of debate on the influence of television programming content in molding cultural and societal values. The controversy is particularly heated in countries such as the United States, which has a large migrant population from all over the world. While commercial television has developed into offering different population segments a choice of ethnic channels and programming, the fact still remains that an eclectic mix of culturally and linguistically diverse groups view mainstream television. The aforesaid fact, along with the current, important social agenda of eliminating all racial and ethnic discrimination, has raised the question of whether mainstream television has a responsibility to restrict its language and content in response to cultural sensitivities. Social activists contend that television has the power to communicate the norms and values of a society and to that extent, the medium must play its due role in bringing down social barriers by influencing Americans to become more open and sensitive to other cultures. Pro-choicers, on the other hand, point to the principles of freedom of thought, speech, and exp Continue...


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For after all, democracy works precisely because it expects its institutions, commercial enterprise, and citizens to be guided by a social conscience and sense of responsibility in exercising the freedom it offers. Thinking about the issue, it is my personal view that both sides of the argument has its own merit, and the answer probably lies somewhere in between such polarized views. Indeed, it is this very power that has resulted in many a country and culture protesting against the import of foreign programming, which is perceived to be equal to the import of a foreign culture and values. However, having said that, it does not automatically imply that the television media can deny all responsibility towards social values or the national social agenda. For, without question, only social forces such as education, religion, employment and community practices or family upbringing can inculcate such values. While, it does appear that there is a great deal of scope for television to stop hiding behind the fact that it mirrors society, it is important to point out here that a line also needs to be drawn somewhere on culturally sensitive programming. Examples that come to mind are the repetitive characterization of Arabs as wealthy but arguably uncultured sheikhs; the sheltered, suppressed life of Chinese or Asian Indian women; the Jew as a banker; the Italian or Russian gangster; or the never-take-anything seriously, pleasure loving African-American. The key point I am making here is only that any marked skew in television programming should be addressed so that the scale is more evenly balanced. If television follows social values, it is then highly debatable whether conscious developing of sensitive, cross-cultural or multi-cultural television content will succeed in either eliminating cultural and social differences or in generating mass, popular appeal. Therefore, it is as important that culturally and linguistically different segments of the population also learn to adapt to the functioning of a democracy and respect the principle of freedom of expression. Further, such an enlightened and educational approach need not necessarily be confined to educational or infotainment programming, but form a conscious part of pure entertainment as well. Viewed from this perspective, there could be a case for television to act as a catalyst in bringing together diverse cultures by more positively highlighting the differences. The effect gets even more magnified when the portrayal of stereotypes is accompanied by humorous play on the language or linguistic ability of minority groups.

PROFESSIONAL ESSAYS:

Contrast of 2 News Magazines
intends to allow the sale of sensitive nuclear devices the readers know that the television show is news articles and coverage of culturally significant issues (4056 16 )

Multi-Cultural Education
as well as men who are sensitive to the Conclusions that television provides a powerful means of offering Larger numbers of culturally non-anglo-saxon citizens (8671 35 )

RESEARCH PLAN
and resolve problems with creative, culturally sensitive solutions. to be a culturally acceptable mechanism 5. Distribution via television stations: Partnering (9549 38 )