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Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Big Brother Alive & Well In Britain And Looking Over 50 Cent's Shoulder

From AFP/Breitbart.com:
Britain's advertising watchdog slapped down the world's biggest record company for a poster that shows US rap star 50 Cent with a baby in his arms and a pistol in his waist.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the "Get Rich or Die Tryin" advert - which sparked 17 complaints - breached industry guidelines on social responsibility, decency, violence and anti-social behaviour, and children.

...the Advertising Standards Authority said 50 Cent "had such cultural credibility, especially among young people, that his association with gang culture and criminal behaviour was likely to be seen as glamorising and condoning the possession and use of guns."
That my friends is what free speech has fallen to in Europe. Now I'm not a fan of 50 Cent, I've never heard one of his songs that I can recall, but the man has a right to free speech. No matter how controversial it may be. While I don't condone the message of violence that is implied by this poster, it's 50 Cent's message - if I don't like it, I don't have to see the movie. I certainly don't need a state watch-dog hovering over my shoulder deciding what is and is not appropriate for me or my family.

Which is more dangerous, a message from a rap star that contains a violent image or the state controlling what you can and cannot see, hear, do, and say?


coolbuddha 1/04/2006 02:11:00 PM  

Erm...the ASA has also been criticised for being too lenient. (Oh and it's Britain not 'Europe'-there is a difference!). To suggest that it is an example of "state controlling" is a bit OTT. We had 'Jerry Spinger The Opera' on national TV. Would that happen in the USA?

Kevin 1/04/2006 02:38:00 PM  

But should there even be an ASA? We have the occasional dustup over an outrageous ad here in the states but we settle it without the government.

I said Europe, because Britain isn't the only country that has that type of PC agency.

As for Jerry Springer The Opera - I could watch it anytime I want on our cable or pay per view networks. Would our regular broadcast networks carry it? Probably not, but that is their decision - not the government's.

There is a big difference between a private company deciding what standards it should hold to, and the government telling them what those standards should be.

coolbuddha 1/04/2006 05:48:00 PM  

The ASA is not a government agency, although it's terms of reference are set by Parliament. I suspect your broadcast networks would have 'decided' not to show J. Springer The Opera by self-censorship (e.g., fear of lobby group backlash, etc). The BBC, which showed JS The Opera (despite well organised opposition) is not cable or pay per view.
The poster in question showed a gun stuffed down 50 C's belt. It's not 50 Cent's "right to free speech" at issue, its the multi-million pound advertising people etc behind the campaign, deliberately using specific imagery, who have had their fingers slapped. Is the poster on display on public transport networks in the US?

Kevin 1/04/2006 07:07:00 PM  

Yes - the ad is on display. We would never think of disallowing it.

Also, the Ad Agency has freedom of speech too...

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