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California's Porn Industry on Assignment

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Rajan Datar | 07:56 UK time, Friday, 17 June 2011

Was pornography, even in the context of a programme about the porn industry, an appropriate subject for the Assignment slot on BBC World Service?

The programme makers argue that many of the issues in the programme are pertinent to people working in the porn industry around the world, but Rob Howe from California emailed us to express his dislike of this edition of Assignment.

Rob said that he is not a prude, but the Assignment on the porn industry was "classless and gratuitous" and well below the Service's usual standards.

He felt it was unnecessary to include some of the elements featured in the programme.

We asked the editor of Assignment, Bridget Harney, why the programme was made in the first place and she told me that because the California porn movie industry is huge, with hundreds of production companies, thousands of employees, and is also present globally, it was an appropriate subject for the programme to cover.

So with such a big industry, why wouldn't Assignment want to look at some of the issues - particularly health and workers' rights - that have taken place?

However Bridget did point out that a warning was broadcast before the programme aired which stated that the documentary began from the set of a porn movie, so if anyone wanted to switch off they could have done so.

Bridget also explained that the programme had unique access to the set of the movie. It was difficult to gain the confidence of the actors and crew, and the material was handled very sensitively, but as they were on a film set it would have been odd not to have had sound for a radio programme.

Also in this week's programme, six months after the start of the Arab Spring a new report by BBC Monitoring has raised some interesting findings about the Egyptian media's coverage of the protests.

The report also compared the way that private TV stations and international news channels covered the protests.

You can find out whether the lessons from Egypt also apply to what is now happening in Syria by listening to the podcast.

Keep your emails, calls and letters coming.

Rajan Datar is the presenter of Over To You.

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. Broadcast times can be found by clicking here.

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Send the team your feedback by email (overtoyou@bbc.co.uk), telephone (44 144 960 9000), SMS (447786 202006) or by leaving comments on this blog


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Over To You,
    I have listened to WS in many countries for decades.

    If we must have football on the WS, please give commentators two Valium tablets before each match.

    I am interested in religion as a phenomenon, but do not want hushed, reverential, uncritical reporting of 'ghosts in Vietnam' or 'spirits living in trees'. The 'researcher' into the Vietnam ghosts was taken in by the transparent fraudulence of the 'mediums'.

    Some weeks ago, I heard, on the WS, a scientist mention Thorium as a nuclear fuel. I followed this up and did some research. Thorium seems to have every advantage over Uranium. Thorium is plentiful, cheap to process and safer in use than Uranium. Why is there so little interest in this? Could it be because Thorium is unsuitable for making nuclear weapons?

    Many years ago, I saw a man breathing pure Nitrogen under medical supervision. He appeared to be drunk, and was given Oxygen just before he became unconscious. He had shown no sign of distress, and recovered immediately. Why is this gas not used in executions or in assisted suicides?


  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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