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lalyil
05-08-2014, 07:41 PM
Hi again :)

If terrorists manage to make the biggest networks on TV screen an uncensored video (it doesn't matter how they do it, for this question anyway). Will government butt in and shut down those networks/television? Does it depend on what they show or would they do this anyway?

Thanks for everything :)

Duncan J Macdonald
05-08-2014, 08:07 PM
Hi again :)

If terrorists manage to make the biggest networks on TV screen an uncensored video (it doesn't matter how they do it, for this question anyway). Will government butt in and shut down those networks/television? Does it depend on what they show or would they do this anyway?

Thanks for everything :)

There is no single agency that has its finger on the 'kill' switch. Matter of fact, there is no 'kill' switch.

There may be frantic phonecalls from the government to the network(s) affected, but the decision to cut transmission is strictly a local network (and affiliate) action.

Also, local affiliates are not required to re-broadcast a network feed.

jeffo
05-08-2014, 08:34 PM
If it were a large network HQ like CNN or ABC or something, I suspect the government would just shut down the power in the building to stop them...especially if there were something being shown that was embarassing to the government.

WeaselFire
05-08-2014, 09:01 PM
Okay, ignoring the fact that the premise is not plausible, the answer is the government couldn't do anything in the US. Censoring of a broadcast is not possible or, in most cases, legal for the government to do.

You also say "uncensored" video. The only censoring in the US is based on content and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadcasting regulations. Unless the terrorists were going to use the networks to get their point across by showing an x-rated movie during prime time, there wouldn't be any ability to censor, even after the fact.

Outside the US, the game is played differently. So this really depends on both locale and content of the video. And how gullible your readers might be. :)

Now, let's get to fixing your real issue. What do you need to happen for your story?

Jeff

Ketzel
05-08-2014, 09:05 PM
If it were a large network HQ like CNN or ABC or something, I suspect the government would just shut down the power in the building to stop them...especially if there were something being shown that was embarassing to the government.
The US government? A privately owned building? How would it do this? The federal government doesn't own the power companies, and then there's that pesky little Constitution in the way, especially the 1st and the 4th and 14th Amendments.

jeffo
05-08-2014, 09:11 PM
If there were terrorists in NYC, you can guarantee that the NYPD would shut the power off in the building. Well, okay, they might not -- if they decided to storm the building with tanks first...

Ketzel
05-08-2014, 09:29 PM
If there were terrorists in NYC, you can guarantee that the NYPD would shut the power off in the building. Well, okay, they might not -- if they decided to storm the building with tanks first...

Well, the OP specifically eliminated the "how did the terrorist do it" from the request for information. So if you choose to assume that known terrorists are in a known location in New York City and not somehow breaking into the US broadcasts from somewhere deep in Afghanistan, you may be right that the local police would take some drastic action. But as the question seems to be limited to how the government would stop the information from being broadcast, then you have significant legal barriers to unilateral action by the government.

jeffo
05-08-2014, 09:51 PM
Good point. I suppose it is hard to answer the question without knowing if the terrorists physically took over a network, or remotely took over a network feed... or even if by "forced," they did something else entirely, like kidnapped the daughter of a technical engineer and forced him to insert something into the network feed...

King Neptune
05-08-2014, 09:55 PM
Hi again :)

If terrorists manage to make the biggest networks on TV screen an uncensored video (it doesn't matter how they do it, for this question anyway). Will government butt in and shut down those networks/television? Does it depend on what they show or would they do this anyway?

Thanks for everything :)

After the state socialists take over that might happen. There are people in the federal government who would love to have that power, but the don't, and it is unlikely that they will have that power in the foreseeable future.

King Neptune
05-08-2014, 09:59 PM
If it were a large network HQ like CNN or ABC or something, I suspect the government would just shut down the power in the building to stop them...especially if there were something being shown that was embarassing to the government.

Broadcasters, especially large TV stations, have their own power sources, and those are big enough to run the station for hours.

Williebee
05-08-2014, 10:04 PM
As for frantic phone calls, my bet is the government would find the phone lines jammed up by advertisers and affiliates calling the networks and network heads at home.

waylander
05-08-2014, 10:11 PM
Which government are you asking about?
If it is Russia then absolutely one phonecall would do it.
UK - would depend on which channel it was on. BBC - maybe, Channel 4 - they show this sort of stuff all the time anyway.

frimble3
05-09-2014, 07:40 AM
What's the video about? If it's an execution, or similar video, I say let'em run it - and at a clip at the beginning saying 'Coming soon to a theater near you'. Let the audience assume it's just a movie trailer.

If it's a terrorist spokesman explaining their aims and objectives, a manifesto or the like: rely on the viewing public to assume it's a public affairs program and change the channel(s). Heck, PBS can show it as part of a pledge drive, throw in a panel of experts to explain it, maybe make a few bucks.

What program were the terrorists planning on interrupting, in these days of fragmented viewership, that was going to get them that big an audience, and how are they going to force people to pay attention? I suspect that killing people won't do it. We might be outraged, later, when clips are on the evening news, but a lot of people just have the TV on without paying all that much attention, unless they were eagerly anticipating a program. In which case, interrupting it could backfire.

Helix
05-09-2014, 08:08 AM
Hi again :)

If terrorists manage to make the biggest networks on TV screen an uncensored video (it doesn't matter how they do it, for this question anyway). Will government butt in and shut down those networks/television? Does it depend on what they show or would they do this anyway?

Thanks for everything :)


Which country?

KarmaPolice
05-09-2014, 09:39 AM
In the UK the government does have the power to do this (it's quite scary to learn of how much dictatorial power they have when you read all the laws!) They could...

Ask the spooks to jam the main transmitter. I know for a fact they already have the tech to do this with wi-fi and mobile phones, so why not the telly?

Send an 'update' signal to all digital boxes in the country that removes the offending channel from the listing. When people try to re-tune, they get diverted to a 'we are having technical difficulties' message. (I like this one - easiest to pass off as a 'technical glitch' later.) Naturally, this would only work in countries like the UK which have gone all-digital.

Tell the local transmitters to stop carrying the channel.

Cut all land-line and satellite connections to the broadcaster, so they can't use that get-out.

Bolero
05-10-2014, 06:45 PM
Why not You Tube the clip? In all the caches etc it would last a long time. As in why is a TV station essential?

(Something to justify in your book.) :)

Once!
05-10-2014, 07:19 PM
The UK Government actually used to do this, or something very much like it. When the IRA was most active they passed a law banning TV companies from broadcasting anything said by Sinn Fein, allegedly the political wing of the IRA.

The TV companies used to get around this by broadcasting the television pictures of the Sinn Fein representatives and dubbing over the actual sound with actors saying exactly the same words. Which was more than a little silly.

There is nothing to stop them from trying to do something similar in the future except that people would find a way around it via the internet or satellite television channels.

We also have injunctions and super injunctions preventing something from being publicised, although that is more usually footballers' bedroom activities.

If terrorists seized a TV station could the authorities stop them from broadcasting something? Possibly. Unlike radio many TV stations are broadcast by a separate cable or satellite company such as SKY or Virgin. I bet they could pull the plug on an individual TV channel if they needed to.

Much harder to stop the internet of course.

benbradley
05-10-2014, 08:27 PM
I'd think it depends on how "offensive" the content is, and who (in the government) gets offended. If it's hardcore porn or someone being executed, some civic-minded public officials would be calling the police/FBI/CIA/etc. to locate where it's originating and storm it ASAP, cutting cables, transmitter dishes and generator gas lines until the transmission stopped, and legality be damned (perhaps putting a veneer of legality on it by saying "This is a threat to the Nation as well as an egregious violation FCC regulations, thus I order you to make it stop by whatever means necessary").

Why not You Tube the clip? In all the caches etc it would last a long time. As in why is a TV station essential?

(Something to justify in your book.) :)
A live Youtube feed/public G+ hangout (as well as over-the-air transmission) might be more viable - one would need to "shut down the Internet" to stop it, and it might be interesting to see how the US Government attempts this (perhaps shutting down US East-West backbones and attempting DDOS attacks against Google/Youtube/Vimeo/other streaming sources of this video).

Telergic
05-10-2014, 10:34 PM
If it were a large network HQ like CNN or ABC or something, I suspect the government would just shut down the power in the building to stop them...especially if there were something being shown that was embarassing to the government.

And how would they do that? Black helicopters over the transformer substation? An FBI agent lurking by the main breaker 24/7?

Reziac
05-14-2014, 10:19 PM
Also, there are plenty of small and cable-only stations that will sell anyone with the money half an hour to do with as they will. And it's not real expensive to buy that airtime and have 'em run your own tape. Downside is this will only get you the exposure of the average infomercial.

Probably the best way for broad exposure (without having to wait for it to "go viral" like with YouTube) is to provide a major station with a tape of a "situation in progress" and a juicy description, do so right as the nightly news starts airing, and hope someone is greedy enough for a scoop to run it without vetting the tape first. (And yes, this has happened on major network-affiliated stations; the case I'm thinking of was KNBC in Los Angeles.)

As others mention, there's no practical way to halt this. Shutting down a power substation won't accomplish much either, as most broadcast stations (even small ones) have their own generator backups.

WriteKnight
05-15-2014, 12:06 AM
Your original post negates any plausible answer. This is because you set up 'magic' circumstances. Therefore the answer is whatever 'magic' you would like to happen.

There are (at least) THREE MAJOR NETWORKS in the U.S. Each feeds their 'national' feed to local stations for rebroadcast. These broadcasts are NOT simultaneous across time zones. (What goes 'live' on the east coast - is not seen until rebroadcast on the west coast)

You do not give information regarding the type of content. Since you're saying television - one assumes you have some sort of footage. IF it is prerecorded and so objectionable that no network would voluntarily air it - then you'll have to have a mole - inside EACH network - to stage a simultaneous feed interruption - and hope to God - no one at the local networks - who may or may not be running a delay - decide not to shut it off locally.

IF you want to hijack the 'feed' from outside... some sort of magical 'jamming' signal... where your message plays on all stations on all tv's all across the country at the same time - regardless of frequency... I call bullshit.

You see what I'm saying? There is no "MASTER SIGNAL" to be hijacked by the terrorists.

So unless you can specify what you're trying to accomplish - the answer is simply either "It can't be done" 0r 'Suspend all reason and make it magic".

Jamesaritchie
05-15-2014, 12:31 AM
The premise is way off, but as to what the government actually has the power to do? Nothing, and almost anything, depending on the circumstances.

jaksen
05-15-2014, 02:13 PM
There is an 'emergency broadcast signal' that will come up on a television screen now and then, and often in the middle of the most exciting part of a ball game - television show - movie. Where I live, if you flip the channel you may see the same thing on other stations, or sometimes they are a few minutes apart.

So, if you could somehow hijack this little message or signal, substitute yours, and have it shown on a few stations in one major city...

You'd get everyone talking. It would be on all the major news outlets that night. It would prob. show up on youtube. In other words, if you want to make a point, or just scare the hell out of people, find a way to substitute/use that emergency broadcast signal.

You do not need to have your own video/message broadcast on every TV station. A well-planted message, on one or two local affiliates, would scare the s--- out of a lot of people.

Example, when the little boy was in the balloon a few years ago - the one where the dad made the balloon, etc. - suddenly people were calling each other to 'watch CNN' or whatever channel it was on. I walked into the house to find my family glued to the TV and phoning/texting their friends. It was happening right then, right there and we were all convinced the poor little kid was in that darn balloon. (Turned out he wasn't.) Later you couldn't find a major network or group of anchors, or whoever, who wasn't talking about it.

So I think if you write this thing with a bit of plausibility behind it, you could get your (evil? diabolical?) point across.

Reziac
05-15-2014, 05:10 PM
There is an 'emergency broadcast signal' that will come up on a television screen now and then, and often in the middle of the most exciting part of a ball game - television show - movie. Where I live, if you flip the channel you may see the same thing on other stations, or sometimes they are a few minutes apart.

So, if you could somehow hijack this little message or signal, substitute yours, and have it shown on a few stations in one major city...

The broadcast itself is a local thing, tho. You see it at the same time across stations because there's a schedule as to when/how often stations are required to do the hoary Emergency Broadcast System notice, and the test is done in a cascade fashion... primary signals the secondary and then they all do it. The message itself is just a cart (tape) one sticks into the station's canned-stuff player, it's NOT centrally-broadcast, and it's usually the oldest cart the station owns. (As I can attest, having played the cart a few times myself back when I was DJing. We weren't secondary on anyone else's system, so we did it kinda whenever. Also, we made our own tape.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Broadcast_System#Testing_the_system