Talk It Out: Censorship

Think of the children

Censorship should not be looked at as taking away an individual’s rights, but rather empowering someone to make appropriate choices while benefiting the masses.

Without censorship affecting the type of programs that can be aired at certain times, parents would have to be hyper-vigilant about allowing their children to watch television. Without this kind of censorship, young children would likely be exposed to sexual and violent content regularly.

If adults wish to watch this kind of content, it is as easy as turning on the TV late at night or renting other titles they want to watch instead. Censoring content at certain times of the day and night protects children while posing only a minor inconvenience to adult viewers.

Censorship is too often looked at in negative light. By limiting explicit material on television, this gives adults more control of the entertainment they or their children are exposed to. It also ensures those who are triggered by questionable content will not accidentally stumble upon something that could have a negative impact on them.

Censorship does not take away people’s freedoms. Film and television ratings provide parents a quick and accessible way to review the type of content they and their kids consume. If parents do not care about the content their children consume, such media is readily available.  

Of course, people may argue bleeping out adult language from a movie shown on television ruins its integrity. However, this is untrue because it is relatively easy for adults to still understand the original words that are being bleeped out, and it is beneficial to kids because they may not understand and be exposed to the profanity.

If television was not censored and films were not rated, it could be difficult for families to find suitable content for their children to watch. Mild media censorship is important in helping parents keep their children from being exposed to questionable material.


Freedom comes first

Censorship in a democratic society should never be tolerated.

Censorship in essence deems one thing as right while another is wrong—something which is subjective and constantly up for debate. What is deemed “obscene” or “inappropriate” by some may be the complete antithesis to another. Laws regulating subjective ideas like obscenity and inappropriateness should not exist.

The Bill of Rights ensures, with limitations, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. If censorship is sanctioned, the freedoms promised in the First Amendment would all be for nothing. Government agencies would be able to crack down on the press for criticisms deemed “inappropriate.”

In a democracy, this is not ideal. Censorship can quickly come to serve as a catalyst for government propaganda while stifling opposing viewpoints and critiques. Aside from the government, censorship can be problematic to other forms of media such as books and television.

Censoring bodies determine what the public should and should not see and hear, and ultimately decide what they will and will not see and hear. In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission decides what can and cannot be heard and seen on radio and television.

The FCC shows just how biased blatant censorship can be. The FCC puts indefinite limitations on sexual imagery and blatant sex in general, while at the same time allowing gruesome, violent imagery and action. I do not think it is more harmful for impressionable teens to see a natural part of human activity such as sex rather than violence and murder, but the arbitrary limitations the FCC puts on media deems it so.

Censorship is completely subjective, and the question of what should or should not be censored is constantly up for debate. When government mandated censorship comes into play, however, it is decided for us what we should and should not see, regardless of our own personal beliefs.

When public expression and speech is limited by the government, it never bodes well. A democracy is based on control from the people, not on the control of the people, and this is why censorship as it exists in our country today should be abolished.