Censorship is a way in which the general public is protected from possibly offensive language
, images or other propaganda
. In appropriate circumstances, certain material may be made unavailable by certain means. For example, excessive swearing, nudity, sexism and racism are not broadcast on mainstream, prime time television
. In a private conversation, however, swearing and limited forms of discrimination may well be acceptable to the parties
involved. Censorship often causes problems, in that it can offend the author or audience of said material
. Censorship may also be administered in incorrect circumstances
, and its implementation places additional burden on the censors, who must ensure that no objectionable material is available to a sensitive audience.
Censorship often acts as a hindrance to well-intentioned
artists and activists. There have been many cases of movies, bands, political figures and organisations being unfairly reviewed. This has been because people have focused simply on their use of a certain word or citing a sensitive issue
, as opposed to their overall motives and beliefs.
When the movie Lolita
was released, it generated a large amount of discussion on its morality. It was reviewed excessively, with comments ranging from "brilliant" to "unadulterated trash"
. Unfortunately, these comments were purely opinionated, and the only aspect of the movie discussed was paedophilia; not the light in which the paedophilia was viewed, or even the plot itself. This resulted in the movie receiving a "Restricted Viewing
" rating, and a lot of bad press
. As a result, a movie which may have originally opened people's minds to help understand a sensitive issue
has had its audience reduced to those who are already somewhat open-minded on this issue. Anyone else would have rejected Lolita on the basis that it was considered to be a "perverted" movie which they could not identify with. This example does not involve a direct form of censorship so much as a wilful ignorance
on the part of the reviewers.
As rumours circulated about a new US sitcom
being released, the general public's ears began to prick up at news of this depiction of females discussing sex. As more details on the new series Sex and the City
grew, they became infinitely more focused on one point - a split second of one episode. It contained the word "cunt
". Suddenly, no-one was interested in the plot any more, as long as the censors could find somewhere to hide that evil word away from the public (who were now thoroughly interested in witnessing the novelty
of hearing "the C word" on television). The novelty value that Sex in the City provides has worn off quickly, and an honest discussion of the series' plot would have helped more to attract the audience most likely to identify with this show (young women whose interests lie in sex), rather than the resulting temporary audience - people who are amused by hearing women discussing sex
During the South African struggle against Apartheid
, Desmond Tutu
was one of the most influential voices against the oppression of the indigenous citizenship
by the white people
in power at the time. Tutu addressed the general public on many occasions, in person and on television. However, his oratory
endangered the stranglehold on the racial hierarchy held by the white people, who responded by over-dubbing the majority of Tutu's speeches with a voice-over, leaving in only his conclusions of "... there will be a bloodbath". In this manner, censorship was abused
by those in power, as they used Tutu's own words to defame him.
When popular band Limp Bizkit
released their video clip for the song N 2 Gether Now, many fans were disappointed at the censorship applied by the applicable record label. The song in question was recorded with a popular rap artist
, whose purpose was to say, "shut the fuck up"
at regular intervals. This, appended to the existing expletives in the rest of the song's lyrics, meant that most of the song was simply swearing. Although this isn't respectable in itself, Limp Bizkit's lyrics mean a lot to them and their fans. Excessive swearing in contemporary alternative music is also something that fans of Limp Bizkit and other bands exposed in the same manner would be accustomed
to. In Australia
, the means of exposure for alternative video clips is usually on the ABC's music show, Rage, which usually carries an applicable warning for "mature audiences
" when it starts at midnight
. In these circumstances, excessive swearing is more than acceptable - it is often anticipated. And in this case, the song N 2 Gether Now consisted mainly of "bleeps", which ruined any enjoyment a music fan may have otherwise derived.
The level of morality displayed by printed media has steadily declined of late. The use of women's bodies
to sell just about anything has escalated excessively. Pouting models have graced almost every magazine cover excluding Better Homes and Gardens. Scantily clad females wearing a handkerchief, a gelled hairdo and a shocked expression sell us perfume and hairdressing services
. The morning papers are not even safe - people calmly eating their breakfast are confronted by advertisements for plastic surgeons specialising in faces and thighs advertising their services with a token
breast enlargement. I personally am not opposed to the exposure of breasts in public, as long as it has a rightful purpose. One example of this is breastfeeding
. Another would be a plastic surgeon specialising in breast surgery. Pictures of breasts in random advertisements that they don't belong in holds no rightful purpose
as such. It does, however, hold the potential to cause offense to people, lessening the credibility
of the related publication. Breasts, in themselves, are not offensive objects. They are made to be so through their censorship in other aspects of the media, a typical example of double standards
Over the last few years, with the advent of the "World Wide Web", the Internet has emerged as a popular medium for research and entertainment. It is also a brilliant medium for the general public
to express their views. Sometimes these views are offensive and portray discrimination against minority groups. This, along with pornography, is one of the main concerns for parents who think that the Internet makes a good babysitting tool. To protect their children, the parents in question have the option of implementing filtering software to block questionable material, or supervising their child's online activities. The latter has the downfall of being time consuming, and lacks the attraction of being able to "tune out" and pretend the child doesn't exist
. Filtering software is suddenly quite an attractive option
. The concerned parent can now leave their child unsupervised on the Internet, free to look up any objectionable material that the filtering software's AI doesn't recognise. Unfortunately for filtering software programmers, the 'net changes every day, and is incredibly difficult to filter effectively, especially taking into account all the sites that shouldn't be filtered
. This means that the program that should have magically stopped a child from ever knowing that pornography exists is suddenly frustrating said child beyond belief when his/her browser is shut down for accessing a web site on the sexual interactions of frogs
during their mating cycle, or a Freudian
study on psychosexual behaviour.
Censorship does have a purpose.
Its purpose is to protect people from objectionable and offensive material. Unfortunately, censorship serves as nothing but a form of diplomacy
for many of the biggest broadcasting authorities; in many cases, this inevitably defeats the point.