Tue, Aug 08, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Anti-porn crusade won't help save NCC

By Ning Yin-bin 甯應斌

Ever since the National Communications Commission (NCC) was founded, its legality has been called into question, and the Council of Grand Justices recently determined that the Organic Law of the National Communications Commission (國家通訊傳播委員會組織法) was unconstitutional.

Given this situation, it is only to be expected that the NCC will try to strengthen its legitimacy. It is to be hoped that the commission will not follow the old habit of "public relations ethics."

By this I mean the method often used by our politicians whereby they try to establish an unassailably moral and ethical image for themselves, and then rely on this image in their relations with the public to win support, legitimize their own actions and cover up a bad political record. They try to build this image of morality by, for example, campaigning against pornography, turning such inextinguishable social phenomena into a never ending source of support for their moral posturing.

Many of the commission's actions may go unnoticed by the general public, which makes it difficult to build public support for the group. Recently, however, it seems to have initiated a controversial campaign against sex on TV, which is simply a review system in disguise. Only a few days ago, it put the knife to nine TV shows and issued fines from NT$100,000 to NT$350,000, in almost every instance because the shows were said to contain sexual innuendo, vulgarities and so forth.

In open societies, however, sex should not be banned from TV. The different movie ratings -- G, P, PG and R -- should also be relaxed in step with the changing of the times to avoid promoting hypocrisy, since that would only stop the younger generation from discussing sex in a responsible manner.

It is very easy to portray sex as vulgar. Vulgarity, however, is a concept heavily loaded with class prejudice. The interests of the lower classes are easily labeled "vulgar." This is meant to explain why the commission as a new and rising organization should be very cautious in its "anti-pornography" activities.

The fact that the commission's anti-pornography actions have occured precisely when its legitimacy is being questioned makes it difficult not to wonder if it is in fact engaging in public relations ethics to reinforce its legitimacy.

Ning Yin-bin is a professor in the National Central University Graduate Insitute of Philosophy.

Translated by Perry Svensson

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