The average citizen would be surprised how often he/she looks at any media related things, such as newspapers, television, books, even the internet, that are censored. Think about it. Have you ever watched a movie like 21 Jump Street on TV, and during a conversation, a character’s dialogue goes silent? The character’s lips seem to be moving, but no words are being expressed. That is an example of censorship. Sure, censorship can be used for great things, especially if you have children running around. However, there have been times throughout our world’s history that censorship has been abused and used for the wrong reasons.
Censorship should be eliminated due to the abuse of power and government documents that states censorship should not even exist. Everyone knows how the First Amendment of the United States Constitution goes, right? Well, for the benefit of those who did not already know, it basically says that you are free to say what you want, write what you want, practice any religion you want, and other freedoms. ” The amendment directly forbids federal violation of the individual’s religious liberty freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and associated political liberties.
The amendment indirectly forbids state violation because it is held to be incorporated into the fourteen amendment’s restrictions upon the powers of the states. ” (Cox 1045) Censorship is a violation against this amendment, an amendment that America stresses is an important part of our country’s Constitution. “When you censor an image in a movie, censor a statement in a magazine article, or censor a lyric in a song, you are taking away the creator’s right of freedom of the press/speech. You should be able to write or express any thoughts that you may have and have it published or released.
Although media publishers are usually very lenient with what they publish or release, if you say or do anything that they deem “unnecessary” or “too extreme,” they will censor your statement, which, according to the First Amendment, should not happen. One simple edit can change how we feel and how we think about a lot of things. Many countries, such as World War II era Nazi Germany, used censorship and gave false information to fellow Germans about the Jews to influence them to support their fascist beliefs. This is done all over the world, to a lighter extent, of course.
The government can use censorship to make things appear better (or worse) than they really are. Writer Charles A. Rudd states about censorship in Germany in the early 1900’s, ‘War with the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires in 1914 caused the tsar to impose military censorship on private publishing. Then followed the heightening domestic turmoil that culminated in the 1917 revolution, ending Imperial Russia and a relatively free press; for Lenin and his Bolsheviks, who seized power in November, so well knew the power of the printed word that they eliminated privately-controlled publishing companies.
Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American novelist and memoirist, provides a measure of the change in this summation: “Under the Tsars (despite the inept and barbarous character of their rule) a freedom-loving Russian had incomparably more possibility and means of expressing himself than at any time during Vladimir Lenin’s and Josef Stalin’s regime. He was protected by law. There were fearless and independent judges in Russia. ” Following Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin bested all rivals to emerge as the leader of the Party by the next year.
Under him in 1936, the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics made clear that publishing was to achieve the objectives of the socialist order as determined by the Communist Party. Harsh penalties awaited violators of laws against “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”. (Ruud 214) When the public sees the censored work, they will believe that how the article was printed is the way that article was intended to appear. This can influence many readers to believe what they are reading, which, in some cases, is not for bad reasons.
However, when this done, the community is being lied to and given false information. People need to know what is going on in the world and need to be able to form their own opinion. Although some would not go as to say that violence, sex, druguse, language, or anything else of that variety is what they would look for in a movie or book to deem that it to be “entertaining,” other people believe that some of these elements add a certain level of excitement and entertainment to a movie or book. When you censor a movie, book, or any other thing of that sort, you are risking compromising the entertainment value of it.
Some movies are know for certain quotes that may contain an obscene word that many people may know. Sometimes, when a movie is played on television and this statement needs to be censored, the censored quote can come across as somewhat cheesy. Also, if you are watching a movie on television that has a scene that is censored, sometimes, the censor takes away a part of the movie that could have crucial plot points in the scene that can be scene in a DVD version, but may be missed on the edited TV version. Sometimes, censorship can just take the fun out of a movie or a story.
Movies and stories are something we view to entertain and inform us. And with some censorships to these things, we do not get to see the big picture or feel the full effect that the directors/authors intended us to feel. .When it comes down to it, the U. S. government controls everything we view. Every news story that you read about in newspapers and magazines or watch on television is somehow decided to be alright with the government. If a television episode contains controversial imagery, sometimes, the government will force the network to pull this episode from being broadcasted.
In some cases, this is for the better of the country. For example, on July 4, 2001, the animated comedy show South Park released an episode that depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammed. After the initial release, outcry and death threats from many Islamic people caused the episode to be pulled and can no longer be viewed on TV. In this instance, censorship was used for the betterment of the country. However, if you were to look at it from the other end of the spectrum, the Islamic government uses this type of censorship in media to remove any references to the flaws in the Islamic government.
This does not just apply just to the Islamic government. This applies to many governments from all across the world. As stated earlier, Nazi Germany used censorship by rewriting history records of the Jews and spread Adolf Hitler’s own twisted propaganda. Members of the government are put in power for the betterment of our country and for the sake of the people. So when the government abuses their power like this, the citizens of the country start to lose faith and trust within their country’s system. And, sometimes, people just want to watch whatever they want to.
Nobody likes it when they lose money. Often, directors/ authors rely on the profit of the merchandise and sales of their movie or book for money. Sometimes, the use of censorship can affect the money they make off of merchandising, tickets, etc. “It is not just the content of film that is regulated, with all areas of film culture coming under scrutiny. This ranges from the granting of an exhibition license to permitted modes of promotion, publicity, and merchandising (the content and nature of posters and trailers and the suitability of associated toys). (Censorship 237) In some cases, there have been times that posters, toys, and trailers of movies have been pulled for one reason or another. There may be something about the product that some parents may deem inappropriate, or there may be a part of the product that is a hazard for small children that could cause the product to be recalled, costing whoever made it tons of money, as well as the time that the creator put into that product’s design and the duplicates that were made.
Also, if, for some reason, censorship of a movie or book causes the entertainment value to go down, the people who view the movie/book may spread their disappointment to their friends, and word of mouth will cause the reviews of that movie/book to go down, which will cause the sales to be unspectacular, all over the issue of censoring a few things. The money from sales and merchandise gives the creators of the film/ story the majority of the profit that they need to make more money than it took to make their movie or book.
Although censorship has done good for the world in some places, as a whole, with its abuse, neglect for the very first amendment, and the complications it can cause with a movies profit, at the end of the day it really is not worth it. Censorship can be like a stone wall to somebody’s creativity, stopping the flow of certain ideas. Also, for as much as the United States stresses how much they abide by their rules and laws, censorship goes right against the first rule stated in the First Amendment.
It seems a little disconcerting to know that we are not watching what we want to watch, but what the government permits us to watch, right? It also is not good when a movie cannot make its profit back. So, while there are benefits to censorship, there are more downsides to it. A quote that really sums up this research paper is a quote by Henry Steele Commager, where he states, “The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. “