Censorship is a very controversial issue: the freedom of ideas and speech is something many people have died fighting for over the centuries and the notion that ideas and information should be controlled by governments or society as a whole, is very divisive one. So what are the pros and cons of censorship in modern society?
The definition of censorship is the control of ideas, speech, and freedom of information, in much the same way as George Orwell wrote about in his iconic book, “1984”. But whilst the fictionalized account of “big brother is watching you” was truly very disturbing, on a smaller scale, most of us experience some level of censorship in our everyday lives, from the DVDs deemed unsuitable for younger viewers to the banning of certain images before the 9pm watershed on television. However, in modern times, censorship has largely become unenforceable with the rise of the Internet, so what are the pros and cons of censorship and is censorship a good or a bad thing?
What are the pros of censorship?
- Censorship controls the types of images and material that might be available to children, from pornography to violence, and whilst it is often extremely difficult to police what appears on the Internet, some level of censorship is essential to prevent the corruption of young and vulnerable minds.
- Censorship can help to prevent unnecessary religious conflict by thwarting a possible avenue for those trying to incite religious violence.
- Politically motivated propaganda is a dangerous tool for individuals and political figures to try and garner the support of the masses for their potentially dangerous ideas: censorship helps to prevent such ideas from finding a fertile breeding ground.
- Censoring sensitive information can stop unsuitable people gaining access to potentially harmful information.
- Censorship protects the privacy of certain individuals who might otherwise be subjected to unwelcome attention.
What are the cons of censorship?
- Censorship stifles the freedom of the media and press, which is not in the spirit of democracy.
- Unscrupulous governments and individuals are apt to take advantage of censorship and use it to hide their own misdeeds from scrutiny of the world.
Censorship has often been used by dictators to prevent the media reporting unsavoury events in war torn and politically unstable countries.
- There is a very fine line between censorship and protectiveness—removing some types of information from the eyes and ears of children can lead to a lack of informative information on vital subjects like sex, drugs, and alcohol.
- Censorship not only stifles freedom of ideas, it also gags creativity.
- People should have the freedom to choose the type of information and ideas they wish to be exposed to rather than be told what they can and cannot do by a higher body.
- Censorship can be used to prevent the public finding out what immoral and illegal activities certain individuals have been up to in their private lives—information that the public has a right to know.