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Concepts of Censorship

Info: 3408 words (14 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: JournalismPhilosophy


There are different types of freedoms or forms of liberations that everyone needs to be able to feel comfortable and accommodated in our society. The intellectual freedom is the right of each individual to access information that is; both receiving and in pursuit exclusive of any restriction or containment. Free expression of ideas at all angles can be termed as intellectual liberty. Most of our democratic communities are supposed to present this liberty for, it is the foundation of social equality and this must comprise the right to posses, obtain and distribute thoughts.

Censorship is the control of informatory materials that are seen to be of great threat, dangerous or might bring fierce public debate to a society, a nation or even international. The main information materials censored are films, books, videos and art works which are detached or reserved from free public access. Restraint of materials can also be based on definite audiences depending on age limitations or other distinctiveness. There are certain organizations or individuals that might advocate for the society or children in particular that might be at risk of certain immoralities.

Many democracies however have put in place clear regulations stating that; every one has a freedom to read, write, view and express. The library personnel must forever be enthusiastic to edit supplies, for their focal concern is to protect the public from unethical resources. When another person shares out his arguments it is very vital to be considered but not forgetting the other side’s opinion must not be taken for granted and be secluded.

The word censorship comes from the Latin word censor, which was an occupation of two Romans whose task was to oversee civic behavior and ethics, consequently monitoring the way inhabitant acted.The act of censorship differs from one material to another. There are many things that we come across, in our every day lives; these could be in books, televisions, radios, the internet and many more. Censorship is believed to be with human since time immemorial and cannot be extricated .Censorship can be traced back from the ancient communities like ancient Rome, Greece and China, where it is believed that around the year 300AD,this was passed as a valid law for checking ethical conducts and opinions of the inhabitants.

One of the most remembered historical saga on censorship was in the ancient Greece when Socrates was forced to take poison in the year 399BC for admitting of his involving the young in dishonesty and untraditional divinity.This antique view of suppression, as a compassionate civic check in the most excellent concern of the public, is still in use by many nations in the world and it has along eternal impact on the Soviet Union, for the leaders used censorship for the greatest durable time ever recorded in the 20th century. Censorship as containment has diverse complications, with some censorships targeting matters seen to be filthy or indecent; unorthodox or sacrilegious; treasonable or profane.

In consequence, the main aim generally for this art in our societies is to restrain and conceal beneath the disguise of defending the main fundamental public amenities that is; the State, families and churches. For full grasp of censorship, and the desire to censor, it is indispensable to shred away the astonish appellation importance that is emotionally involved to the remark at first declaration. One must be familiar with that suppression and the philosophy behind it goes back to prehistoric period, and that each culture has had mores, norms and rules by which dialogue, clothing, spiritual execution, and sexual appearance were synchronized.

As we go back to Ancient Rome, where autonomy of idiom was reticent for those in power and that resulted in writers of subversive articles ruthlessly dealt with, especially Nero the emperor, is in records after setting ablaze books and even expelling many authors. Clear evidence shows that the art of repression has great hereditary from the first democratic state of Greece. Plato was the initial philosopher to devise a validation for academic, spiritual, and creative expurgation that projected any that; unconventional ideas concerning God henceforth taken as criminal acts and that proper trial is recognized to contain profanation. Tales being narrated to children by their mothers could be censored. In our modern world, there are different types of censorships carried out simultaneously, and these are moral, Political, religious, military and corporate censorships (Hellin et al 1986).

Religious Censorship

The religion censorship actually suppresses the free views that might go against the teachings of the church. It is habitually performed on the foundation of blasphemy, and one known example is that of the author of satanic verses, who was condemned to die by the late Iranian head, Ayatollah .Religious censorship is one of the most responsive parts in both ancient and current censorships and involves some of the most influential denominations enforcing limitations on the lesser ones shunning the progress of the other when feel endangered.

It is believed that expression of thoughts candidly was posing a great menace to some Christian and church rulers, following the era of Protestantism and the innovation of printing press, this catapulted both the Catholic Church and the protestant to wage a great war on each other and prompted the Roman church to stiffen censorship on many books that were seen to be ideologically unsafe. In the year1559, Pope Paul IV outlawed some books, which were later carried forward by many of other succeeding popes until later dates. Up this time, there are some books and teachings, which are censored before being allowed to a particular church or denomination.

Moral censorship

The moral censorship is entirely for family and society interest. There are materials that must be censored before being released to public for children’s’ safety .Prohibition of pornographic and violent film materials are some of the best examples that forces moral censorship to take stage. The US, is complimentary and independent civilization, where freedom of expression is tolerated but some issues concerning censorship especially the Internet freedom has degenerated to a heated debate. Entrance category of substance, made by a governing ability or its legislative body.

In conventional documentation surroundings of a library it is very likely to monitor instructional and library media resources foregoing to use by subjecting all such supplies to a sensible assortment criterion, but concerning the Internet it is proving to be tough. Indeed, it is significant to supply affluent materials to scholars and to formulate that in sequence presented is not opposing or else distasteful in scenery. For these grounds, teachers are accountable to widen the skills essential to examine and appraise assets found on the Internet. It has been established that many children in recent days are accessing the internet, making friends, chatting about social issues meeting adults and their fellow kids. The Internet connection clasp vast information that covers from education to sex related articles that are very awkward for kids to access.

Many parents have argued if there could be law that guard children from the Intrenet.The issue of kids accessing the Internet are some of the gains that censorships can deliver. Even though it is unkind to deny our kids their rights but at times when need be, restrictions must be carried out. Indeed this matter must be addressed tactfully, for the Internet can act as an educational library and is helpful to our kids.

Political Censorship

The suppression, of information that are channeled by a state to a particular news bulletins conduit after trying to cover something ,deforming to give another meaning or fabrication of ideas to conceal the plain truth from the public ,is regarded as censorship of politics. This could be also restraining some views that are contrary to the ruling government. Obviously, the government of the day has every machinery at its disposal to dismantle any civil disobedience. It has the military, the police the secret agents that must make sure compliancy to any directives.

This is where political censorship can come in, to repress the opposition. Many governments can even hire reporters to scuttle some grave propaganda among its people to deter the public from the truth of the matter. In the Soviet Union, there was no autonomous journalism that was allowed, until president Gorbachev ascended to power. The communist government only was to release information or its affiliate organization. There was only one newspaper that monopolized the media space.Howerver overseas newspapers that were ultimately allowed supported the regime. Television and radio stations were always under the control of the communists. Foreign broadcasters who were never supportive to the government in any nature found there stations disabled at times. These acts of suppression faded away after the fall of the communists.

China still has ideologies of communism and is said to be employing Internet observers of around 30,000 personnel just to monitor the electronic coverage. During the reign of Mussolini, press freedom almost came to an extinct. There was great persistence put in place to fully check the media. The authorities frequently raided journalists and even closing down some of their premises. The Jews were never allowed to publish any paper even journalism was a nightmare to them. South Africa also suffered massively under the apartheid regime whereby a law was introduced to veto any individuals that were against the government, once you were confirmed banned there was no way any newspaper could carry your story or views.Saddam of Iraq also directed the censorship of all press materials. Another Arabic country that is regarded as mainly tyrannical concerning the freedom of expression is Syria. The human rights organizations have been seen in the front line to criticize the government on opinionated detentions and arrests. The foremost obstruction is the inability to afford the Internet services and the ultimate suppression from the government censorship bodies. In accumulation to maintaining rigid control of service providers, state imposes economic and technological constraints to the users of the Internet (Vaughn et al 1980)

Military censorship

This can never be overlooked and its history dates back from the first and second world wars. The military intelligence was vital and crucial for any army to succeed in a battle. There were some secrets and strategies of war that were to be practical in keeping ahead of the opponent, and were applied especially when spying on the next move. The Indian troops of the year 1914 were some of the victims of the forces scrutiny in famous western front. There was consistent scrutiny of mails by a band of censors that was instructed to compile seven-day information that commented on the contents of the letters. Several individual letters were collected and then translated.

They were containing enclosed names of the sender rank and religion .Many of the soldiers were not educated, and that meant in residing to others for writing of the letters. They were enlisted from the countryside where e education was inadequate. For that reason, they had a frantic time of identifying the corporation clerks who were to write the outgoing and to read the incoming mails. They later found out that the authority was censoring their mails and this prompted some of the soldiers who were educated to change writing tactics. The censors who were intelligent managed to decipher most of the mails written in oblique idiom revealing of their horrors. The US Military censorship was uncommon in the early democracy due to the archaic lines of communications in the forces operation areas.

Information received from the facade was never valued for more than a week. When the media fraternity became more complex in later centuries, there was need for scrutiny from the military measures. Telegraphic lines were federalized during the civil war era and this was due antagonism correspondents, that the authority wanted to suppress. The civic demand for current updates piloted the tough contest for the reporters and this saw proficiency in professionalism .Indeed many uncensored news reported were mostly fake, but tolerance was deployed for the authority new, some traces of intelligence could be seen to influence civil opinion. The American war with the Spanish had several efforts of censorship thwarted after a vast logistical failure to conceal violence inflicted by the American troops.

The American government also commanded the exchanges from transatlantic that included correspond by mail and the line cable. The information from the entire media fraternity, were subjected to strict cencorship.When the World WarII started, the US government in 1941, had a censor office that scrutinized all the out going and the in coming mails, that most of them had pictures of wounded soldiers and were never wanted to be seen publicly and it was seen these were matters of national interest. Many reporters had to concur and with strict regulations ended up performing individual censorship to avoid victimization. The Vietnam conflict experienced comparatively cordial bond flanked by the forces and the journalists. Incomplete in their aptitude to confine in sequence lacking an affirmation of war, the administration had to pass to the press practically unfettered admission to the combat zone. When the Americans invaded the gulf region, it was certainly, fair giving little restrictions

Corporate Censorships

The application of negative ideologies to corporate sector has greatly impacted on some victims of corporate suppression to being edged out and rejected to vend merchandise, denial to publicize or airtime defiance has been experienced in the recent years especially in America. Many articles have been denied circulation by corporate bodies in view of tarnishing the media fraternity fearing loses or impeachment. Sports and film bodies have also suffered silently at the mercy of the corporate censorships. Broadminded favoritism in the media is frequent idea to be the result of moderate doctrine and ideas influencing the reporting or variety of news stories.

Conformist critics of the media argue that bias exists inside a broad assortment of media channels together with set of connections reports. A survey carried out by an independent body found out that, reporters at state media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and the broadcast networks, mostly are Democratic voters whose attitudes were well left to the universal community on a selection of topics, counting on social issues such as abortion, positive action, and gay rights. The interviewers recognized their way of expressing some of the debatable matters involving security of nuclear supremacy, school busing to encourage ethnic combination, and the1970s power calamity .their conclusion was that the writers reporting of divisive issues were their own opinions.

Obtainable tilt as a mostly insensible procedure of concurring persons analytical on their collective assumptions onto their interpretations of actuality. In assurance, this doomed that information houses engaged principally one party would fabricate equally slanted perception headed for the prejudiced bearing (Sweeney et al 2001).Significantly and disconcerting swing may be mounting concerning the way legislators standardize the media many countries of the world particularly African governments are out to mug the media especially those radio stations broadcasting in ethnic languages, who are always threatened to closure for their oppressors believe they are perpetuating cultural hatred. In one intellect, the dispute for censorship equality is prevailing.

Main concern is the menace of incompetent and unprofessional censorship still lurks with the increasing junction of media providers and modern technologies. Expectations are high that established broadcasters will strengthen their fight for the appropriate delivery quality of services to their customers even though, anxiety that is more dictatorial is still being asserted to these classified operators. Nevertheless, certain protections from the law are needed while chances are high that current situations shall be put to rest. General public attitude to recent days can be quantified as saying that in many countries across every diverse sections of expansion, it has never been that easy for immediate custodians of children that is; parents to keep an extra close eye on their kids. It is believed that most frequently censored materials are books, for the majority of them are have many offensive mechanism mainly politics, gender or sexuality cultural background, religious values, or sacrilegious articles or rebellious and might not be appropriate for the children, hence need to be censored.

The educational facilities especially libraries are the most vital treasures in any society that value education. They are therefore charged with the full responsibility to both public more so to the children who at no time are required to access any material that might generate a negative attitude, towards their development and later service to the community at large. Censorship as many say could be the restriction of ideas and expressions, but to look at the issue summarily, there specific questions that must be addressed and put back to their order of sequence.

It is clear that no parent will allow any kid to pop in the library and come out with a book containing of violent scenes, sexuality, or with a book that actually endorses witch craft or ethnicity. Each an everyone has a great task of ensuring that this general assignment provided by nature be accomplished in the best method applicable. Many hurdles are encountered because strong opposition is met during the removal of unwanted materials that are regarded as risky. Nevertheless, the real victims here are the public. American Library Bill, First Amendment is violated when the removal of books is carried out and actually brings controversial dispute, for people see it as a violation of the act.

The subject of restriction of books in schools is sensitively charged, but having known the consequences is always necessary to avoid confrontational issues. When one considers reading any luminous manuscript, shows that we think autonomy of idiom is precious, we must be able to distinguish and crusade about its most composite and vital limits. The culture of censorship must go on but it must be done both morally and professionally. For the librarians they must be prepared for any resistance from various stakeholders because, they might be victimized for avoiding to purchase other uncensored books hence, be seen, as an economic sabotage. It is a collective responsibility for the parents to also confer with the librarians to advice on any materials that are best for our children. For the exposure of uncensored materials might be harmful to the society; and our kids in particular are the most targeted .Definitely it is important for the libraries to have censored books and educational materials, because the benefits out weigh the disadvantages.


Dinton, Robarte k (1991), Middle East war: Westport, Connecticut.

Hellion, Danielle C (1985) world wars: the Media and Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Knightly, Philip J (1975) the First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Vaughn, Stephen E (1980) Holding Fast the Inner Lines: Democracy Committee on Public Information. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,

Sweeney, Michael S. (2000) victory secrets: Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

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Philosophy literally means “love of wisdom” and the term was used by the ancient Greeks to describe the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. As an academic discipline, philosophy is concerned with the use of reason in understanding such things as the nature of the world, existence, the use of knowledge, and principles of moral judgment.

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