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86 The List S-lS Apr 1096

media and technology

Shooting from the chip

Clinton has pledged to place one in every US television by 1988. John Henderson hears from the broadcasters about the lastest weapon of the censors,

the V—chip.

he tragedy of Dunblane has led

to renewed calls from lateral

thinking MPs for the introduction of a V-chip to all new televisions. The V—chip. where V stands for violence. is a piece of electronic gadgetry which will scramble programmes with a content that parents deem unsuitable for their children. President Clinton legislated in February this year to make the chip compulsory for all televisions sold in the US from 1998. and the Liberal Democrat MP David Alton is attempting to force

CyberPatrol. motto "I‘o surf and protect‘. are now in widespread circulation. The screening applications allow parents a censory role. cutting out anything from swearwords to porn. from violence to Nazi propaganda.

All very well - in theory. But when parents are faced with children more technologically aware than themselves. such software can prove ineffective. .-\s Mike Bolland. Head of Arts and Entertainment for BBC Scotland and the man behind cult 80s Channel 4 show T/lt’ Tube. says

Virginia Bottomley to include a of the V-chip: "There are no

similar provision in the guarantees. any more than

Broadcasting Bill due to there are if you‘ve got an

be read later this month. - - lb’ certificate video ta e The V-chip Will be

Alton‘s pleas. however. have found little support from those involved with television programming. Stuart Cosgrove. the Perth-born. street-wise broadcasting

bigwig who‘s now Head b ass. -t while still calling for ofArts and Entertainment yp "‘9' ' better regulation. Mike for Channel 4. is highly Bolland certainly points sceptical about both the the finger in this direction: ‘lf

practicalities and the issues involved. ‘Believe me. the V-chip will be in operation for three days before someone in a playground in Dundee will have found a way of bypassing it.‘

Cosgrove goes on to warn: ‘lt [the V-chipl could actually constitute an erosion of the already existing regulations. like the nine o‘clock watershed.‘ His argument is that less scrupulous cable and satellite broadcasters could use the chip as a mechanism to get violence on air by working on the premise that. if people don‘t want it. they have the technology to block it out.

it‘s possible to draw parallels between the V-chip situation and the Internet. The Net's rise in popularity has been accompanied by a backlash against the perceived influx of pornography and other undesirable information lurking on its pages. Combatting this. software equivalents of the V-chip such as

in operation for

actually three days 99mm someone in a playground in

Dundee will have be found a way of

X-ra: th new V-chlp a be sad to censor TV rormmes in he same waythat Sur Watch (above) is used to police the Internet

that some kid isn‘t going to find it and put it on‘. The root of both problems broadcasting and internet seems to parents‘ desires to abdicate responsibility

people really take no interest in what their kids are watching. then 1 suspect that they‘re not going to be that bothered by them knowing

what the code is anyway.‘ And while Alton is driving for the government to appease public

concern over censorship and adopt Clinton‘s line on the V-chip. Cosgrove views it as something of an empty—handed gesture. "l‘he people who they‘d get to classify the programmes for the V-chip are precisely the people. like the lTC. that regulate television already.‘ Wise words indeed from our man at Channel 4. but perhaps the last say on the current debate will go to the British Board of Film Classification. who have spent the last few years addressing this general problem in respect of video classification. As their most recent annual report concludes: ‘The best defence children will have will be their own knowledge and understanding.‘



Claymore: on the wlros As the players get padded up for the first game of the season, Edinburgh-based American Football team. the ScOttish Claymores are launching their very own site on the World Wide Web. Designed by Colin Usher of Edinburgh’s Cyben'a cafe, the site provides fans with a bright and breezy. fun-tilled digital goodie bag on the team, cheerleaders. latest fixtures and news.

To find the Scottish Claymores on the Web point your bmadsword at: http://mvmc10ymnres.co.uk


Saucy Bru Edinburgh—based ad whizzkids The Leith Agency have struck bronze in the prestigious Campaign magazine Press Advertising Awards ‘Best Drinks And Tobacco Advertisement‘ section. with a saucy little industry ad for Barr‘s amber nectar that goes: ‘The new Im- Bru campaign gives me a bulge in my pecker.

Tartan cable As more and more Glasgow streets are dug over in readiness for cable TV. two major broadcasting corporations are floating proposals for ‘Scottish‘ channels based in the city. Scottish Television - as a result of their alliance with US cable giants Flextech - are to go public with their plans for the Scottlsh Channel over the next few months and have already revealed that the core of the new channel’s output would come from the lOOO hours of local programmes already produced at Cowcaddens. Beaming out with a pledge to be ' 100 per cent made in Scotland’ the channel would also provide an outlet for non-broadcast local organisations to make advertiser- supportcd programmes to broadcast standards.

Meanwhile back at Canary Wharf a certain Mirror Group~backed cheap and cheerful cable company headed up by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has announced its plans to create a tartanised channel, with launch dates to be continued. Blasgow live -— as Live TV's new enterprise will be known - will extend its roors into the city by drawing on resources at Scottish Television, and through an intended joint shareholder deal with Rangers and Celtic football clubs.

As for potential rivalries -— Scottish

Television have said that the town is

more than big enough for both

Glasgow Live and the Scottish

Channel. Keep watching this space. (Ellie Carr)