The paper "The Skins Controversy: Ethics and Responsibility" is a good example of a management case study. Teenagers are highly impressionable, and while MTV’ s show, ‘ Skins’ , maybe a reflection of what happens in the real society, the programme producers left much of the hard work to parents of teenagers. For example, dangerous driving kills, but the show does not dwell on this much. Additionally, sexually transmitted diseases are real, but the programme does not pay specific attention to such issues either. Drugs use does not always end in fun and dangerous driving does not always end without any casualties.
Arguably, the show could be faulted for creating the impression that risky adventures are always fun and that no risks are involved. Arguably, MTV failed the social responsibility test when it chose to air ‘ Skins’ because it failed to consider the social norms and values that its target market holds on to. For example, teenagers are advised against irresponsible sexual behaviours, driving without licences, and drug use among other socially irresponsible behaviours. The society, therefore, expects the media, teachers and other people who interact with teenagers to teach them responsible living habits in the hope that such teaching will make them responsible adults in future.
Skins’ does the exact opposite since it creates the impression that people can engage in irresponsible behaviours and still be happy for it. The ethical imperative that MTV has, just like other corporate and not-for-profit organisations, is to do things that better the society and avoid things that worsen the same society. Arguably, ‘ Skins’ raises several ethical issues which include worsening the society by creating the impression that irresponsibility among teenagers pays.
Another ethical issue relates to MTV making money from advertisers through programmes whose values and morality are in question. As Chris MacDonald (Cited by Carr, 2011) asks, “ You have to wonder if there isn’ t a better way to make a living” . Another possible ethical issue relates to child pornography in the content TV of programmes. Notably, the Parental Television Council (PTC) argued that the content of ‘ Skins’ was “ too graphic and extreme for a young audience or for young actors to be portraying” (Hoops, 2012, p.
12). In other words, not only was the programme exposing young people to pornographic content, the underage actors in the programme were possibly going beyond what was permissible for their age limit. The legal aspect in ‘ Skins’ mainly relates to child pornography, especially in relation to casting teenagers to act in nude scenes. Whether nudity comprises pornography is a widely debated issue, with Collins (2011 cited by Holloway, 2011) stating that terming scenes in ‘ Skins’ pornography is demeaning the meaning of the term ‘ pornography’ as used in law. Even when sexually implicit content was shot, it could only be considered pornography if MTV actually distributed such content in ‘ Skins’ episodes.
Otherwise, sexually explicit scenes that had been shot but edited, hence meaning they did not make it into people’ s screens, do not constitute pornography. The foregoing argument is founded on New York v. Ferber (1982) – a Supreme Court case in the US where it was ruled that one of the criteria of determining whether a party is guilty of pornography is the distribution of the sexually explicit content. Critics of this argument would, however, argue that the ruling in New York v.
Ferber (1982) reiterated the prohibition of any person from deliberately promoting “ sexual performance by a child under the age of 16” (para. 1). The ruling went ahead to define sexual performance as “ any performance that includes sexual conduct by the child. ..sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse or lewd exhibition of the genitals” (New York v. Ferber, 1982, para. 1). Arguably, therefore, the producers of ‘ Skins’ could be accused of promoting the sexual performance of actors who are younger than 16 years.