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MTV’s “Skins” puts network on defense against child porn accusations February 11, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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MTV knew that it was stirring controversy when it introduced a sex-filled teen drama called “Skins” at the beginning of 2011. However, even the network is now worried about accusations that it has crossed the line. MTV executives have asked producers of the show to tone down some of the more explicit scenes, especially as critics turn up their rhetoric.

The Parents Television Council is leading the attack against MTV, claiming that the show is filled with child pornography. The PTC is citing 18 U.S.C. § 1466A (2008): OBSCENE VISUAL REPRESENTATIONS OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN in its complaints, a code which deems something obscene if it is “an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” With this at the heart of the case against MTV, though, many media critics are claiming that the network must fight back, especially since something that “appears to be” obscene is not necessarily obscene to most other viewers.

For more on this issue, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What is the problem with deciding whether something is actually pornographic, by the legal standards cited above?

2.  Is there room for MTV to defend its new hit show? If so, then why?

3.  How should MTV publicly respond to this growing scandal?

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