Most people think that censoring materials is going against people’s right to information and press but in some cases censorship is unavoidable. Censorship is the suppression or deletion of material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor. But it is an arguable topic on who gets to censor materials and the criteria for a material not to be censored. Mainly censorship is done on three bases: materials regarding national security, liable materials which can damage an individual’s or a firm’s dignity and reputation and finally material that is obscene materials such as pornography.
When it comes down to the security of a nation from attacks by terrorist and other countries, it is obvious that the material which put it in jeopardy is bound to be censored. Materials like maps of secret location like the Whitehouse and other government areas of most of the countries are censored on Google earth and out of reach of the local population because it provides an easy access for the terrorists as they will be able to view those places and plan their attacks.
Other official papers also like of those of research done by a country and military tactics is censored because the linkage of the information may turn out to be a huge problem for a country. So these types of censoring are justified and are reasonable. But when the government holds back secret information which they think will start a revolution and the people will rebel against the government isn’t the correct use of censorship as the citizens of the country have the right to know what is happening and show their feeling and thoughts towards what the government of doing with the country.
This type of censorship is usually seen in Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Another material which is usually censored is obscene or vulgar materials like pornography, or usage of foul languages. In most of the countries pornography is legal for adults and is only banned for children under the age of 18. So this type of censoring is expectable as exposure to such material can affect the growth of the child and put negative images in their minds.
Censoring foul languages from songs is also a good thing as the songs are played on radio and the child may learn the language trying to imitate their idols and singers which isn’t a good thing. A song of a famous hip-hop artist Akon had to be re-sung to have a permission to be broadcasted on radio and television as it contained swearing words. On the other hand, another song which was banned was of the black eyed peas. The song ‘lets get retarded’ had to be changed on to ‘lets get it started’ to be broadcasted as the censor thought that it would offend the physically challenged people.
I don’t think this type of censoring in music is justified as the whole concept of the song and the meaning behind it has to be changed. There are many other songs which offend a lot of people but they aren’t banned like those of Slim shady. Why is it so? So the criteria for a song to be banned should be made clear and shouldn’t be bias. There is a lot of censoring done by certain schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions itself because they don’t want some things to be known by the students or it goes against the morals of the school.
As an example of a just banned book, David Guterson’s acclaimed book Snow Falling on Cedars has been banned by the South Kitsap School District in Washington State as an inappropriate and obscene book. Why it was banned is much deeper, as the book is written about the racism and anti-Japanese persecution during and after World War II on the Kitsap Peninsula. The book was banned because Kitsap is still a right wing, racist stronghold and they wish to block any recognition of their bigoted past and present. This is known as white washing where they try to hide their past which they are ashamed of.
Many books in the past have been banned for reasons varying from offending religious beliefs to portraying women as liberated because of this reason many Canadian children’s books are censored as well, not at the government level, but at the level of local schools and libraries. Restricting children’s literature puts a severe limitation on a child’s right to read. This type of censorship shouldn’t be done as it goes against many of the rights of the people like the freedom of expression and press. The people have the right to read such books and know about the truth and get these types of ideas. Censoring is done in every field these days.
There are many other types of censoring done: like corporate censoring where they hide the materials of a project or tender from their adversary; commercial censoring where certain advertisements cannot be played during a certain period of time; parental locking where the parents are able to lock channels and web pages which they don’t want their children looking at; political censoring which keeps certain information from the public for certain reasons; personal censoring where an individual decides not to say anything about a subject matter even after knowing the truth for money or some other reason.
Censorship is a controversial issue as we know and there will always be two sides of the story to tell. But some materials even though people don’t want it to be censor have to be cause if there is no censoring done than a big problem would arise socially, economically as well as politically. So drawing the line between censoring materials and non censoring materials should be the highlight of the agenda rather than try to completely censor materials or completely removing censorship.