When Does a Joke Cease to Amuse? The Construction of Regulatory Boundaries to Satire Following Public Complaints

Efrat Daskal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article analyzes how negotiation between social actors, the public, and the regulator over satirical texts leads to the construction of social boundaries vis-à-vis freedom of speech and creativity in a given society. It does so by analyzing 906 public complaints filed with the Israeli regulator between 2005 and 2010 and the regulators’ responses to them. According to the analysis, there are four issues that trigger public discontent regarding satirical content: broadcasting content unsuitable for children, mocking weak societal sectors, mocking national symbols, and mocking various sociopolitical sectors. The regulators’ responses to these complaints regarding each issue sheds light not only on the diverse perspectives held by these actors, but also on the role of the regulator in granting satirists maximum freedom of expression, mediating between public demands to limit such freedom and professional broadcasting norms. The article concludes by discussing the ramifications of this negotiation for the future of broadcast satire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-188
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Review
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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