The limits that have been placed in this world, as far as are placed boundaries that have always been in place on the world, as far as media, communication and entertainment are concerned, are slowly lifting away. We now have the freedom to believe, think and say what we want. However, don’t you think there are some things that should be left unsaid? This is where the question about media censorship comes in; it is when things that are allowed to be published, televised or broadcasted are monitored by the government. This is done for various reasons, including the prevention of negative propaganda to spread. Though it is said to be implemented for good reasons, there are still many people saying contradicting opinions. Let us look at the pros and cons of media censorship to have a well-informed insight about this matter.
List of Pros of Media Censorship
1. It helps save the children from violence.
Censoring extreme violent material is beneficial, particularly among children. With the access to all sorts of media made easier these days, younger generations can easily fall prey to this sort of content. Thus, censorship would allow them to use the web or watch TV without worrying about their minds being corrupted.
2. It keeps the negative impact of sex materials away from children.
Sex is a serious topic that creates turmoil among people. Sexual acts, especially porn, would sometimes illustrate many unnatural and disturbing videos. It will likely have a negative impact on children who might think it to be true. Hence, this topic, along with violence, should be restricted to people who appreciate and understand that all of those are deliberately produced, in this case, adults.
3. It limits harmful advertisements.
It is understandable that product or service advertisements that are harmful to a person’s health are to be censored or, rather, limited. This will help prevent epidemics, such as alcohol addiction and obesity, which are increasingly becoming a concern for the population.
4. It helps protect personal security.
Sometimes, the First Amendment or Freedom of Speech threatens a person’s or a place’s security because of the fine details the media may provide. As information is, somehow, limited with media censorship, threats can be lessened and people are informed of things when they should be. This means chaos and panic would not ensue.
Another interesting argument regarding this matter is protection of secrets. Ignorance is bliss is certainly true here, considering that it is in the best interest of a country that its strategies are kept confidential. Sometimes, we just need to trust our government blindly.
5. It helps control hate.
By controlling the media, the government can also control prejudice, racism and untrue slandering of certain individuals, which might involve races, religions, companies and other countries.
6. It necessitates regulation.
Many proponents of internet censorship think that it allows for regulation of mass media, which is important to authority. Some even feel that not implementing regulations could have very detrimental effect on the society at certain levels. Some of the benefits of internet regulation to society are lessening the spread of drug cartels and keeping the exploitation of children to a minimum.
Internet censorship is seen as a form of control, and all other forms of mass media, including TV and radio, have specific administrative controls and regulations in place, which means that the web should be no different. It is important to note that regulations can lead to more order, which is the ultimate goal of internet censorship.
List of Cons of Media Censorship
1. It keeps the ignorant, ignorant.
If the government is put in control of what people are allowed to tune into, there is the tendency that things, which can expose corruption within the system, could not be viewed. This is an exploitable way to damage the people of a country.
2. It violates the First Amendment.
Freedom of speech and press is implemented for a reason—it is what the US was formed around. And, putting into effect an excessive amount of media censorship can infringe on this on this basic right of the people. Also, censorship is believed to negate the First Amendment. What would be the point of your right to speak when there is nobody listening to what you are talking about? The very concept of censorship is believed to clash with the idea of democracy. By covering the ears of listeners, then democracy and dictatorship would be no different.
3. It encourages ulterior motives.
As previously stated, placing the government in charge of what can be shown on the media can be risky. Considering that many politicians might be aligned with brands or companies, they may only allow these affiliates to advertise. They may also not allow anything negative to come out about these brands, no matter how true it is.
4. It hinders sex education and awareness.
Though taboo, sex and other delicate matters should still be dealt with maturity. Sex education and awareness of AIDS and STDs need to be spread in many countries, and it is unwise to brush these pressing topics under the carpet as taboo. The question here is what to show or not.
5. It violates website owners’ legal rights to make their information accessible.
Some owners of websites that are censored would possibly sue the government for keeping their online information from being accessible to their target audience. Though not a common situation, but it is a possibility among site owners if their content is being strictly regulated. This shows that regulations can be unnecessary and unlawful.
The media is like a very powerful weapon. If used properly, it can provide society with great benefits, but if used in negative ways, it can destroy. In a modern world where information can spread like wildfires, it is certainly not a bad thing to monitor or limit the types of things being spread, but there are also many cases where it can be irrational. Now, you can probably see that this debate can be a matter of belief. No matter what, censorship should come with rationale.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.