WMU News

Panel to ponder offensive images

March 25, 1999

KALAMAZOO--The issue of whether or not individuals need to be shielded from offensive film, photographic or Internet images will be discussed by a panel of ethicists Thursday, April 8, at Western Michigan University.

The panel will explore the question of "Do We Need to be Protected from Offensive Images?" at 3:30 p.m. in Room 2000 of Schneider Hall.

Because of their ability to evoke emotions and "stick" in people's minds, visual images are an especially powerful means of communication. Visual images that create debate include those that involve nudity, sexual activity, graphic violence, death and the dead, and religious themes considered sacrilegious by the faithful. As a result, groups have argued for limiting access to such images as well as keeping them from children and display in public places.

Using examples from film, photography, the Internet and religious icons, the panelists will explore why images are feared, whether they should be and whether there are remedies for limiting harmful effects from these images.

Panelists, all from WMU, will be David K. Isaacson, assistant head of reference and humanities librarian at Waldo Library; Dr. E. Thomas Lawson, chairperson of the comparative religion department; Dr. Steven N. Lipkin, associate professor of communication; and Paul R. Solomon, assistant professor of art. Dr. Sandra L. Borden, assistant professor of communication, will moderate.

Presented by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, the presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society at (616) 387-4397.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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