February 9, 2019

Lazar and Hirsch on Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards

Alon Lazar, Center for Academic Studies, and Tal Litvak Hirsch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, have published Human Rights Movies Through the Prism of Movie Advisory Boards. Here is the abstract.
Human rights is a topic of high importance in Western societies, and discrimination has been noted as a determining force in their violations. Films depicting human rights issues have been discussed as instrumental in bringing these matters to the attention of the general public and students. Their exposure is dependent largely on their age-classifications by movie advisory boards which determine who can watch them. Two studies were conducted to assess how films depicting human rights issues and held exemplary by the Political Film Society (PFS) are evaluated by movie advisory boards, providing justifications for their age-classifications. Study 1 found that the boards in the US and the UK identify these movies as suitable mainly for adults, while in Australia, in most cases, moviegoers are to decide their appropriateness. Each board stresses different contents as their main concerns, yet none mention discrimination. Study 2, assessing Netherland's NICAM evaluations, revealed that these movies are considered suitable mainly for adults, primarily because they are heavy with violence and fear arousing contents, with only some noted to include discriminatory contents. Thus, in these liberal-democratic societies, human rights movies considered of high value, in most cases are removed from the educational arena.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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