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The Effect Of Obscene Images Viewed By Teenagers Over Cable TV Channels In The Buea Municipality

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The Effect Of Obscene Images Viewed By Teenagers Over Cable TV Channels In The Buea Municipality




This chapter covers the background of the study, statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, research questions, justification of the study, significance of the study, scope, and delimitation of the study, and definition of related terms.

1.2 Background to the study

Obscene” has an ordinary meaning (“repulsive”, “filthy”, “loathsome” or “lewd”), distinct from that provided for by the statutory terms of the Obscene Publications Act 1959: Anderson (1972) 1 QB 304. An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. The portrayal must be explicit and realistic, and thus artistic representations, even if deemed pornographic and obscene, are unlikely to be caught.

Anderson (2002), assert that obscene images are Content relating to criminal conduct (whether a non-consensual activity, or consensual activity where serious harm is caused, or otherwise inextricably linked to criminality), which is likely to be obscene; Content relating to other non-criminal conduct, which is unlikely to be obscene, provided the audience is not young or otherwise vulnerable.

Obscene is derived from the Latin obscēnus, obscene, “boding ill; disgusting; indecent”, of uncertain etymology. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as “obscene profits” or “the obscenity of war”. As a legal term, it usually refers to graphic depictions of people engaged in the sexual and excretory activity.

However, Obscenity became an offense in 1663 when Sir Charles Sidley was convicted for his behaviour after a drinking orgy. He appeared naked on a balcony and threw bottles filled with his own urine down among the people in Covent Garden. This case was the basis for convicting Edmond Curl in 1727 for publishing a pornographic book, an English case that established the crime of obscene libel.

The Obscene Publications Act of 1857 (England), with its definition of obscenity, was most famously applied in the Hicklin, (1868). In upholding an order for the destruction of a publication, declared, “I think the test of obscenity is this, whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall”.

The regulation of obscenity in America is rooted in the censorship that prevailed during the reign of Henry VIII in sixteenth-century England. The notorious Court of the Star Chamber used licensing and other methods to censor books and theatre productions. The Star Chamber was concerned mainly with religious heresy and sedition—works that offend the church or state, rather than with sexual content.

By the seventeenth century, though, the increasing sexual explicitness of English theatre and literature led to demands for control over content that was immoral or concerned bad manners. As a result, at the start of the nineteenth century, the common law crime of obscene libel had developed and could be used to suppress content that was sexual rather than religious or political. Thus, obscenity regulation split off from its religious and political origins.

Sexually explicit content was controlled mainly because it was presumed to have harmful effects on its audience. This was illustrated in an early definition of obscenity that emerged from Regina v. Hicklin, an English case decided in 1868 that concerned an anti-Catholic pamphlet. The test for obscenity was whether the alleged obscenity would deprave or corrupt audience members who were susceptible to this type of influence, rather than whether the material would have such an influence on members of the general public.

In the Cameroon context, obscene images can be seen and viewed over music, magazines, and movies, and so on. This has led to the continual moral decadence of society especially among teenagers, as most of them ignorantly imitate whatsoever they watch on TV.

Nevertheless, cases of obscenity have been on the rampage, a prominent case was that of a Cameroonian musician petit pays which were reported by Joe La conscience, La Conscience noted that his first grievous act of public indecency was observed when he came out with an album where he posed nude in the cover picture. He said Petit Pays, from there, moved into the use of indecent language in some of his lyrics.

He cited soundtracks like ‘Nyoxer’ which he translated as ‘Faire l`Amour’ (to have sex). Joe La Conscience said, unfortunately, the public tolerated such ignominious behaviour and vulgarity by Petit Pays. He said this definitely encouraged Petit Pays to plunge deeper into the world of indecent music, to the point of saying things in his records such as: “I di want fuck my small mb***u” “Je voudrais baisser mon cul,” and so on. He noted that not long ago, Petit Pays even came out with a record, including a video clip, promoting homosexuality (Pedé), which is illegal in our society.

As for Lady Ponce, the activist cited some of her soundtracks in which she say things like: “Je dis ça, et ça la aussi, ça la prend cadeau”, and “Soulevez les Kabas’, as well as making erotic sounds as if engaged in sexual intercourse. He said Lady Ponce, in the video clips of those songs, even made things worse with actions that make the video clips look more like pornography.

Joe La Conscience faulted the Cameroonian society for tacitly condoning and even promoting immorality in Cameroonian music and in the society, by not standing up to condemn those Cameroonians who come up with albums and video clips that contain indecent language and actions.

He said it was scandalous to even see some people applaud artists on stage when they make erotic actions or gestures. Joe La Conscience, as well, noted that an artist is not only supposed to entertain and make some money, but also has a responsibility to the society to educate it with his or her music. He asserted that Cameroonian artists are supposed to serve as role models, to the youths in particular.

He asked what type of education artists like Petit Pays, Lady Ponce and a number of others are giving to Cameroonian youths, with such obscene songs and dance in public. He regretted that Petit Pays and Lady Ponce, who are two ‘big’ Cameroonian musicians, and who ought to be the source of inspiration to many youths, are instead contributing to ruining the society morally.

Talking to reporters in Douala following the filing of the lawsuits Joe La Conscience said the two were not the only Cameroonian musicians who indulge in obscenity in their music. He asserted that with the seeming popularity that records with immoral language appear to get in the country, an increasing number of Cameroonian artists are taking to that type of music. He also argued that the biggest problem facing Cameron music today is not piracy, but the fact that the quality has seen a serious drop.

He attributed the drop in quality to the fact that many artists have turned to obscenity and songs very easy to write or compose. He found the media more culpable for this, saying that local radio and TV stations regularly play indecent music, thus promoting them. He said his decision to drag the artists to court was part of his struggle to promote ethical behaviour in Cameroon.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

According to lifespan development theory, the teenage or adolescent stage is a very delicate one and if not treated with care, it will turn into something else. Teenage is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood.

Teenage development unfolds at three levels; development of autonomy (where adolescents strive to become emotionally and economically independent from parents) the establishment of identity (a teenager’s perception of self) and future orientation (where teens have developed a sense of self-identity, and are most likely refining their moral, religious, and sexual values).

In the course of these stages, issues like juvenile delinquency unfold where adolescents become stubborn and involve in criminal acts and activities. They no longer take the advice given by their parents and even reject counsel coming from elders. They associate themselves with wrong companies and peers, some have become robbers, heavy smokers, drunkards, and drug addicts among others, there is high rates of promiscuity and unwanted pregnancies.

Some of them are sent to school by their parents, stay away from classes, fail exams and even involve in fights and become bullies in school. This has had adverse effects on the society, as there is a rapid increase in crime waves, on parents, as they spend money, paying fees for their children yet they are unable to move from one class to another, on the part of the government, educational wastage is on the rampant.

However, measures like corporal punishment and counseling to curb this issue have proved futile. It was for this reason, therefore, the researcher sought to see the effects of obscene images viewed by teenagers over cable TV channels in the Buea Municipality

1.4 Objectives of the Study

1.4.1 General objective

To find out the effect of obscene images viewed by teenagers over cable TV channels in the Buea Municipality

1.4.2 Specific objectives

  1. To find out the effects of nude images viewed by teenagers over cable TV channels;
  2. To investigate the effects of aggressive images viewed by teenagers over cable TV channels;
  3. To determine the effect of lurid images viewed by teenagers over TV cable channels;




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