America is known as one of the greatest countries in world, and this is because of the many freedoms and rights that the American people have. Freedom of expression and freedom of speech are just two of the many rights that Americans exercise daily to help keep this country and its citizens the way our forefathers believed it should be. Though the American people exercise these rights every day, there are many individuals that believe that certain medias and arts such as music, television, movies, radio and internet should be censored to protect young adults and children from obscene, indecent and offensive material.
Censorship which is the act of deleting, or suppressing anything that is objectionable, is a valid way to protect our children and young adults from mature information, but there is one question that often arises; “How much censorship is too much censorship? ” Although censorship is an essential part of our society, we as a culture need to decide where to draw the line between necessary and unnecessary censorship, while still trying to embrace freedom of expression and speech. The day and age we live in is very different from the way of life in the 1700’s when the Amendments were first created.
In our culture today there are many reasons for certain arts and medias to be censored. There is much more prejudice, hate and anger that is presented in many ways, including art pieces, song lyrics, reading material, movie scenes and other sources. The biggest reason censorship is needed is to protect children and young adults from mature subject matter in which they are too young to be exposed to. This mature subject matter is often made up of nudity, obscene or vulgar language, violence, sex, and other indecent situations.
In the right situations, this is considered necessary censorship that does protect children and young adults from mature content that they should not yet be exposed to or aware of. (Ambekar, 2008) There are many other valid reasons why censorship is important. In some instances it is absolutely vital for a governing body to have some control over what people say or do, it helps to keep our society in order and not breakout into chaos. Although censorship may have been first introduced for protection, it has also been used as a way of control.
A government which censors the information available to its people, other than in a state of national emergency, is a government which seeks to keep the people in a state of ignorance. Censorship has not only become a problem in the United States, but has also become an overwhelming issue in other countries as well. One example would be the internet censorship in China. Although we as Americans find it hard to believe, it comes to no surprise to the citizens of China that their government is controlling the access to certain content on the internet.
The government has never given an official public notice or explanation of the internet firewall, and even though many citizens want to appeal these actions, the government continues to block certain educational, political, and human rights content to its people. If an individual tries to look up this “black listed” content, it will result in a gateway timeout, or a “Page Cannot be Displayed” message. (China’s Media Censorship, 2010) At this time, the government will then be notified and will monitor the individual. If the individual continues to look up the illegal content the government will then take further action.
The actions that may be taken include entering and searching a citizens home while they are given the explanation that they are suspected of suspicious activity. Though China’s Constitution clearly states that unlawful search or intrusion is prohibited for any reason, and is punishable by law, it seems that the government overlooks these laws and acts as it pleases. This is just one example of when censorship begins to cross the line of necessity to invading privacy and becoming a technique the government uses to control its citizens. China’s Media Censorship, 2010) Censorship has been around for a very long time, and will continue to be present in our society as long as freedom of expression and freedom of speech still exist. It is important for us as a free culture to continue to embrace these rights and to continue to fight for them as our forefathers have done. Censorship is a great way to protect our youthful Americans from the harsh and cruel ways of the world, and should be exercised thoroughly in the right circumstances.
But as Americans, we should also recognize if these rights are being infringed on, and act accordingly. It just takes on simple question to ask ourselves; “How much censorship is too much censorship? ”