Revista Latina

Referees' reports - 2010


I recommend the publication of the article because it presents a quantitative research rigorously planned and clearly presented. While the authors discuss the possible subjectivity of the criteria to determine the seriousness of the infractions committed to the Self-regulation Code, this difficulty is overcome with the explanation and exemplification of the levels of gravity adopted by the analysts. The background and the objectives of the research are outlined clearly and exhibit a consistent path of work on the subject.

The amount of data is overwhelming and serves as a picture of the current situation of the programming offer of the mainstream Spanish television networks (plus Telemadrid) according to the measurement parameters used by the research team. The “conclusions and recommendations” section lacks recommendations as well as an explanation of the potential utility of the data obtained, considering the amount and seriousness of the registered infractions. - Professor Alexandra Walzer Moskovic, Ph.D. - Carlos III University of Madrid.

Reports on the article:

The article presents an exploration on the degree of infringement to the Self-regulation code on TV contents and children by various Spanish mainstream television networks. The programming analysed corresponds to the periods September/December 2008 and July/September 2009.

The study clearly fits other comparable analyses, interested in assessing the visibility and typology of inappropriate or violent content for children in the hours of special protection. Moreover, the article also presents links with numerous empirical studies, and presents a notoriously consolidated line of interpretation and reflection.

The article clearly presents the essential aspects of a debate that involves from theories concerned with effects of television to the conclusions drawn from numerous international empirical studies.
The methodology section details, generically, the criteria used to identify the various forms of infractions to the Self-regulation Code, distinguishing types and degrees of severity. The central body of the article presents the results of the monitoring exercise, showing the various levels of infringement committed by networks and their exemplification through representative formats and programmes.

The conclusions are of particular relevance because they reveal the discrepancies of the study with the results presented by the 4th report of the Joint Commission in charge of monitoring the application of the self-regulation code for television content and children.

This research paints a current scenario characterized by a sensitive contradiction because of, on the one hand, the networks’ implicit acknowledgement of the need to protect the most socially sensitive hours, and on the other, because of the persistence of a strategy of sedimentation of an offer -nurtured by soap operas, or current affairs programmes with notorious sensationalist content- that, structurally, would come into collision with that same assumed philosophy of rigorous self-regulation of content.

In this sense, the study highlights an apparent paradox that is not new. It hinges on the old debate about freedom, market, self-control and the effects of television, which is substantiated in the tensions between programming policy’s criteria, competition strategies, and targets of audience levels. From this point of view, the article renews an empirical perspective, which contradicts the existence and effectiveness of the protection frameworks, in the context of the new axis established by the universalization of DTT. - José Carlos Rueda-Laffond, Ph.D. Full Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid.

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