- The VisionTV Code of Ethics
- VisionTV Code on Violence
- Definitions of Violence
- Core Principles on Violence
- Program Practices
1) The Vision Code of Ethics
VISIONTV is guided by a Code of Ethics, Standards and Practices which forms part of our broadcast licence. All programs, including Mosaic programs, are monitored to ensure they meet the ethical and journalistic standards established by the Code. Continue reading the full Code on Ethics.
2) The VisionTV Code On Violence
Definitions of Violence: Violence is the deliberate act of causing harm to human beings. VISION believes that this includes not only physical harm, but emotional, social/cultural, intellectual and spiritual violence.
- Physical: For most people, violence means physical acts or threats, and the use of force to punish, compel or intimidate others against their will. Physical violence on television falls into three categories:
a) fanciful violence, where it is clear that there are few if any consequences to a wide variety of assaults. Cartoons aimed at children contain a great deal of this kind of violence. The Roadrunner, in which a character is repeatedly pummelled, shot, squashed and otherwise assaulted, yet always rises like a phoenix to continue his pursuit, is a classic example.
b) dramatic violence, in which the “willing suspension of disbelief” allows for physical violence of every description, but in which almost every viewer understands that the harm is a pretense, that no one is really being hurt.
c) real life violence, increasingly portrayed in television news programs. A generation ago it was rare to see a photograph of a dead body on television. Today’s newscasts are built around the most dramatic news footage of death, destruction and outrage that can be gleaned from police, accident and disaster reports, as well as the ubiquitous coverage of wars, large or small, anywhere in the world.
Emotional: Emotional assaults can take many forms: the use of fear, intimidation, angry personal attacks, verbal insults, contempt, and disgust. Whatever the form the end result is always the diminishment of the integrity, self esteem or perceived value of an individual.
Social and Cultural: Social and cultural violence are manifested in racism, sexism, ageism, and a great variety of related forms of discrimination which have the impact of marginalizing and creating hatred and contempt, not simply of individuals, but of whole classes of persons. Apartheid, Aboriginal Reserve systems, slavery based on gender, race or culture, and a variety of class systems all fall into this category.
Intellectual: Intellectual violence is the distortion of reality through misinformation, half truths, or taking facts out of context. Propaganda, the notion of The Big Lie, is intellectual violence. Theories that promote the superiority or inferiority of a race, gender, nation, or culture, that distort facts to create a false reality, do intellectual violence to individuals and groups. Hitler’s assignment of Jews to subhuman status, and subsequent attempts to deny the Holocaust are examples of intellectual violence.
Spiritual: Spiritual violence is the devaluation or denunciation of someone else’s faith. Religious or faith groups that define other groups as “infidels”, “heathens” or “unworthy” commit spiritual violence.
We understand fully how difficult it is to achieve this standard. In a perfect world all religions, faiths, and belief systems would respect one another. In our real world, we strive to minimize distrust – to create bridges of understanding.
4) Core Principles on Violence:
VISION’s Principles on Violence flow from our unique mandate as expressed in the mission statement. We believe that while a significant reduction of violence on television may not be possible, it is a worthy goal to pursue. We therefore commit ourselves to the following principles:
- VISION will not knowingly broadcast any program (Cornerstone or Mosaic) that features gratuitous violence on any of the indicators (physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual) outlined in this Code.
- VISION will continue, through its Cornerstone schedule, to create and broadcast programs that can act as a counterbalance to the general prevalence of violence on television.
- On VISION, violence is never to be presented without VISION’s ethical, spiritual, humanitarian or multifaith context glorified glamorized trivialized made appealing by being linked with sex, power or pleasure exploited promoted – especially as the preferred/only way to solve conflicts sanctioned – even within contexts that make violence seem more acceptable (eg. when violence is presented in conjunction with patriotism or law and order) iv. The true effects and consequences of violence are to be realistically portrayed.
- Children’s programs on VISION will offer children and parents an alternative, violence-free oasis. If violence is to be portrayed, it will be done in a context which will not prove harmful to young minds.
- The tone and treatment of any meaningful depictions of violence in children’s programming must be appropriate to the age group, so as not to be disturbing, threatening and/or frightening to 2 – 11 year olds.
- Children’s programming will not depict actions that, if imitated, could cause harm to children.
5) Program Practices
- Viewer Advisories: VISION programming shall seek a balance between respect for the audience and its obligation to respect reality. VISION does schedule programs to illuminate the nature and existence of violence in the world. In the rare case of programming which may not be suitable for all persons or age groups, such programming shall be introduced and accompanied by appropriate cautions.
- Scheduling: Programming, advertising, and promotional materials that may contain language, content and depictions of violence aimed at adult audiences will be scheduled at appropriate hours, and/or will contain cautions to minimize the risk of unintended audiences from viewing them.