Feb 112004
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

By:

Shandra Jordan

Colleen Buhrer

J.J. Babb

When viewers tune in watch the Oscars ceremony Feb. 29, the term

“live” might be misleading. ABC announced they will have a 5-second

delay to safeguard viewers from any obscenities. Networks have been

watched under a microscope after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl

incident. Networks have every right to be more cautious when it

comes to live coverage. The Federal Communication Commission is

pushing to increase fines from $27,500 to $275,000. But by using

this delay, we fear that it opens the floodgates for networks to

censor live coverage.

Everyone remembers filmmaker Michael Moore’s controversial

acceptance speech last year at the Oscars. Would ABC have censored

his comments if it had the means? Oscar telecast producer Joe Roth

told reporters Tuesday the network will only censor acts of

profanity, not political statements made by presenters or

winners.

Frank Pierson, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture

Arts and Sciences, is unhappy with the delay, according to CNN.com.

According to trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, in a letter to

Academy members Pierson warned of a slippery slope leading to “a

form of censorship,” CNN reports.

We agree with Pierson. There are other ways to safeguard breasts

being exposed or streakers getting camera time. ABC could enforce a

dress code – something CBS could have used when pop singer

Christina Aguilera appeared on The Grammy’s wearing a very

revealing dress – CBS used their time delay tactics to cover her

cleavage with an enlarged caption.

No one can stop ABC from using a delay, not even the Academy.

But if ABC does decide to use it, it should not advertise that the

broadcast is live. It should be clear to viewers that what they are

watching is on a time delay and that it is edited for broadcast, if

the network does decide to censor anything.

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