Censorship which is a way of suppressing artistic work including speech and any other form of public communication has paused questions in the minds of people for a long time. The act, which many people especially artists try to clarify its need in the society aims to prevent obscene information believed to be harmful or sensitive from reaching citizens of a nation. It is significant to establish the roots of censorship and the reasons why most governments practice it. For sue, if it were not fit for human consumption, then no government including dictatorial ones would allow it. But why is it allowed and practiced yet objections and questions arise? This is where the puzzle begins.
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Censorship is not an expression of democracy in a democratic nation where to fulfill democratic goals, there is need for freedom of creative expression, worship, speech and political opinion. Citing an example of Ulysses literature by James Joyce; believed to be obscene in the United States and censored for a decade, censorship restricts people from recognizing the value of creativity and expression. It also believes that censorship blocks people’s minds to new ideas but makes them to submit to the voice in authority (Driscoll and DiLascio p21.)
As a result of censorship, many citizens have lost their lives. Persons like Socrates, the Greek philosopher consumed poison because he was forced to, by the government. This is because he questioned the government acts. Many other artists like Lenny Bruce also spent several nights in jail as many others were silenced because of their creations believed to be obscene.
The argument here is that censorship is a means being used by conservative persons and groups with distinct interests to make life standards so difficult and unbearable for the minors in the society, in the name of protecting them from harmful content. Like the case of Christians in the United states who rejected a naked sculpture of Jesus from being displayed in a hotel in New York. The same applies to Muslims who do not allow cartoons depicting Mohamed to be published in newspapers. These artistic works according to the writer should form a basis of argument among democratic citizens in order to increase their knowledge and understanding of facts.
The source articulates the dangers of censorship and has got very elaborate supportive points. The problem is that the writer is biased towards the problems and completely avoids talking about the benefits of censorship. Neither does the work try to understand the reasons to why censorship was introduced. Does it mean that the introducers of censorship only wanted to manipulate and kill people and their ideas?
Looking at the origin of censorship, societies are made of different taboos, beliefs and practices. To ensure that these are upheld, there was need to censor some information that would corrupt the beliefs and practices. As much as senior officials would use censorship to avoid critic, it was considered an initiative to enhance the cultural practices and to ensure harmony amongst members living in a society. The most silenced issues considered offensive are sexual and inciting in nature (“Global Internet Liberty Campaign: What is Censorship?” par. 3).
The article continues to add that censorship differs in forms. They include censorship by intimidation and consensus. It is considered that when a nation agrees to a given common code that all citizens should observe, censoring critical ideas relating to it is not a problem. The problem is that not all people in state would agree to a common code since everyone has his or her own idea on an issue. This article as well expresses the different ways in which censorship may not be palatable to people in a nation. It portrays the idea that knowing what is obscene depends on the person viewing the program. This brings the question, “who should define what is obscene?” as much as the article never takes any sides, it give full view of the act and provides a basis for understanding the idea behind censorship.
The arguments in all of these articles are true and realistic. Censorship is a vital way of ensuring peace and harmony in the society as well as establishing good morals in people. This is because it regulates what is to be said and expressed and what is to be taken in by members of a society. But truly speaking and in my view, censorship is intolerant, thwarting people’s critical thinking ability resulting to a chilling society. Censorship should not occur in a country or state where freedom of choice is a right to every citizen. Members of the society should be allowed to evaluate materials they access and make their own conclusions whether they need it or not. Self censorship does best since people have a choice to take or reject an art. Democratic governments should therefore stop restricting their citizens from accessing what is necessary to them and force them to take what they do not want. For children who cannot reason on their own, their parents should decide for them what to take or consume. I find censorship not acceptable.
Driscoll, Sally and DiLascio, Tracey M. Censorship and Democracy: Great Neck Publishing. Web.
Global Internet Liberty Campaign. What is Censorship? Web.