The Dynamics of Mass Communication and Obscenity

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Obscene material is defined as disgusting and repulsive while the indecent material is regarded as being offensive to the general public. The two may have different definitions by the public depending on individual views. Indecent material is normally protected by the Constitution while obscene materials are not.

Obscene material is not protected by the Dynamics of Mass Communication. News stations and studios do not air obscene materials during the day. Obscene materials are at times aired during night news when it is considered children are asleep and not watching. However no researcher has ever come up with a clear definition of what should be considered obscene, different individuals have their view of what they consider obscene. An example is a swimming show portraying naked women and sex scenes which is always aired in the night past 10 pm (Joseph, 2012).During the day the channel shows cartoons.

The US law requires that a material must meet three conditions in order to be declared obscene. For a normal person, the material must have some aspect of arousing sexual thoughts. The material must describe sexual conduct in an offensive way as depicted by the law. Lastly, the material must also lack literary and scientific value in order to be considered obscene. For example, an adult is found watching pornography with a minor, the situation can be described as obscene.

Indecent material is considered to offend the general public by using vulgar language. The use of abusive language is also considered indecent. There have been difficulties in quantifying indecent material. An example of indecent materials is the use of terms such as nigger and bitch to refer to black men and a woman respectively.

Equal Opportunity and Fairness Doctrine

Both the equal opportunity and Fairness doctrines were originally generated with objectives of promoting broadcasting opportunities among people and political candidates. The equal opportunity Rule requires that any opportunity granted to any public office candidate must be availed to all candidates in all public offices. For example, if a TV station decides to give a chance to a politician from a certain party to air their views, then the station should also provide equal opportunity to their fellow opponents.

Some radio stations provide free airtime to candidates who visit their stations, according to the Communication Act each candidate qualified by the law should receive the airtime (Katz, Lazarsfeld & Roper, 2017). The communication Act is against the censoring of political candidates airing their views in any broadcasting media. Each candidate is granted equal opportunities to air their campaigns.

The Fairness Doctrine provides broadcast stations with a chance to look for different views of controversial issues. According to this doctrine, a station has the right to select different people to deal with controversial issues and each individual should be given equal time in airing their views (Joseph, 2012). But according to the Dynamics of Mass Communication, these views can have a different amount of time during airing depending on the content of the presenter.

The Equal Opportunities Rule requires that each candidate is given equal chances in terms of time and free airtime. On the other hand, the Fairness Doctrine allows different views of the same controversial issues but does not guarantee equal timing during a presentation. The combination of both the Equal Opportunities and Fairness Doctrine enables different countries to create their own rules regarding communication.


Joseph R. D (2012). The Dynamics of Mass Communication: Media in Transition.University of Georgia

Katz, E., Lazarsfeld, P. F., & Roper, E. (2017). Personal influence: The part played by people in the flow of mass communications. Routledge.

August 01, 2023




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