Censorship Essay: Do We Really Need It?


Censorship EssayCensorship is one of the most debatable subjects of all the times, so there are so many censorship essays already written. In this censorship persuasive essay we tried to gather all the information on this issue that you need to know.

Censorship has a lot of supporters and opponents, that is why we decided to discuss the meaning of censorship, its advantages and disadvantages, relevance in our time, arguments “for” and “against”.

Censorship is state authority control for the content and the spread of information, printed materials, music and stage works, works of art, movie and photo works, radio and television broadcasts, web-sites and portals, and in some cases private correspondence in order to limit or prevent the spread of ideas and information that are recognized by the authority as undesirable.

Secular and spiritual authorities that perform this control are also called censorship.

The meaning of the phenomenon

The censorship grounding is recognition of the authority right to restrict the spread of any information, which they consider to be harmful or undesirable. Censorship is the form of freedom of speech restriction, freedom of the press, television and other media based on the rules of protection of state, society and public institutions interests.

The researchers note a significant difference between censorship in democratic and totalitarian countries. In a democratic country censorship provides internal and external security, stability of the state and the political system at the maximum respect for the human rights and freedoms.

When there is totalitarian regime in a state the role of censorship changes greatly. In such a state censorship performs control and prohibitive, police and manipulative functions that are much the same as the functions of repressive bodies. Censorship in the totalitarian countries not only restricts the spread of undesirable information, but also intrudes into the creative process, professional sphere and private life of the citizens.

Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek explains the reasons of the phenomenon with the fact that for the existence of a totalitarian regime it is necessary to make people accept extraneous for them beliefs as if they are their own, and to make the whole society live with one and the same goal.

It was formed historically types of censorship according to the nature of regulated information:

  • war
  • state
  • economic
  • commercial
  • political
  • ideological
  • moral
  • spiritual.

In addition, censorship can be secular and religious, and also it can be characterized by the type of information carrier (media censorship, book and movie censorship, censorship of public speaking, perusal of correspondence and so on). There are other types of censorship. Arlene Blum notices so called “pedagogical censorship” that is related to information that is allowed for publication, but limited in the spread in the certain sectors of society, for example it can be forbidden to be used as material for school reading.

Prior, subsequent (punitive) and corporate censorship

According to the ways of implementation there can be prior censorship and subsequent censorship (punitive).

Prior censorship means the need to get permission for public release of any information. The particular form of such censorship exercise is the existence of a kind of formal procedure, according to which the author, artist or publisher has to take texts, audio and video records, pictures and so on to the state censorship body to get permission to publish, perform, display, broadcast through electronic channels, etc.

Subsequent censorship means evaluation of already published information and taking restrictive or prohibiting measures with regard to particular edition or a work, is withdrawal from circulation, and also the use of sanctions to individuals and legal entities that violated the censorship requirements in publication of their work.

Punitive censorship imposes sanctions on violators of censorship requirements. For example, such a form of censorship existed in Russian in 1865-1917. Unlike prior, punitive censorship examined the books and magazines after their printing but before publishing. The publishing was forbidden if the censorship rules were violated, author and publisher were taken to the court. Soviet censorship had almost the same functions.

Corporate censorship is adapting of the press secretaries’, employees’ and corporation business partners’ speeches to the existing standards under threat of financial loss, dismissal or loss of market access.

There is also self-censorship. It is conscious self-restraint of the author in information spread basing on certain personal views (for example, moral restrictions, internal conformism), or due to the fear of punishment for breaking the censorship rules. Censorship based of conformism or fear is one of the most common manifestations of civil society deformation.

Censorship in different countries

In the 20th century the totalitarian regimes made censorship one of the parts of repressive apparatus, mass manipulation and propaganda. Soviet censorship was absolutely controlled of the Communist party and had ideological nature. Nazi Ministry of Propaganda kept under control all the media in Germany. Any nonconformity that contradicted Nazi ideas or threatened the regime was destroyed in all the published sources.

When the new communications tools appeared (in particular, electronic tolls such as radio, television, Internet), the new forms of censorship also appeared. The necessity to control the information that comes from abroad led to the appearance of means of “radio broadcasts jamming” and Internet censorship (for more information search for internet censorship essays). USSR exercised “jamming” of so called “anti-Soviet broadcasting” for almost 60 years, and with great intensity for almost 40 years. The difficulty of information censorship in the Internet led to the fact that some countries (for example, China and North Korea) implemented the total control of information that comes to the national Internet networks from global networks, and government of Iran planned to isolate completely the internal network.

The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication of UNESCO claims that international law permits prior censorship only in exceptional cases, such as certain threat to major national interests. However, some countries that has signed and ratified international treaties on freedom of speech still continue to impose prior control and in such a way they violate their own laws or constitution.

In 1988 British writer of Indian origin Salman Rushdie published his book “The Satanic verses”. Islamic organizations considered it blasphemous and sacrilegious. In 1989 Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini sent the writer to the scaffold and called on Muslims around the world to fulfill this fatwa. In 2014 the death sentence for writer’s literary work was not cancelled yet. Now the writer lives under secret service protection.

However there are certain censorship limits even in the most liberal countries connected with the restriction of violence demonstration or calls to violence, age limits for sexual information and so on. Thus according to the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 it is allowed to restrict the freedom of the press for national security or to establish public order.

Attitude to censorship

Absolutely opposite views about censorship were expressed starting from the age of Enlightenment. Confrontation on this issue existed also in the German classical philosophy: Immanuel Kant supported the position of individual freedom of expression, while Hegel believed that this freedom should be regulated by the law and police measures.

the state bodies usually motivate the setting of various forms of censorship by the reasons of national security, necessity of the fight against extremism, harmful ideas spread, opposition to the moral decay of society, etc. Censorship is supported not only by government agencies, but also by public and political organizations, such as parties, political movements, churches.

On the other hand, according to critics in fact censorship does not solve social problems, it just helps to hide their existence. Besides, with the growth of authors’ number and Internet access censorships is simply impossible.

Critics also notice that tries to set censorship are just signs of government and other public organizations disability to solve social problems. There are a lot of international organizations that fight against censorship, for example “Reporters Without Borders”.

Now you have an idea of what censorship is, so I hope this essay on censorship was informative and useful for you. For more essays visit our website, where you can also get help in essay writing. It is easy and pleasant to write essays with us. We are waiting for you!