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    Home >> Essays >> Is Censorship Necessary

    Is Censorship Necessary

                             By

                        Miha Alam

    What is Censorship? How can one define censorship? According to Fast Times’ Political Dictionary-it is defined asCensorship - the prevention of publication, transmission, or exhibition of material considered undesirable for the general public to possess or be exposed to”. Further, the question is -Is censorship necessary? The answer is based on peoples’ opinions but the majority does agree that some sort of censorship is necessary. On the other hand there is a group which argues that censorship interferes with the basic and fundamental right of individuals. I strongly agree to the fact that censorship is necessary. The censorship should be done to benefit the society at large. It is not possible to censor everything and every time yet one has to decide what has to be censored? Censorship can be done in several areas such as print media, for religious purposes, any kind of offensive text, objectionable speeches, radio, television etc.The main question is “Why we should have Censorship?” Censorship is essential to protect our society for security and keep the peace and harmony with general sense of well being and happiness. The next question is what should be censored in order to maintain peace and harmony?

                Censoring violent acts are compulsory. It is important that a community protects itself from violence as it can have a negative influence on people and disrupt the peace by affecting the mental and social health of people. Violent scenes can often increase peoples’ brutal instincts. People can become arrogant, mean, boring, rude, and aggressive due to violence.  Many scientists stated that because of watching too much violence, the frontal lobes of their brain which deals with emotion, self-control, memory, etc remains undeveloped. It is said that 1998 – 2002, was the year when most of the movies were launched. Out of those movies approximately more than 98 movies were action movies (VIOLENCE) and came under the super hit category such as Anaconda, Jurassic park (2), Godzilla etc. These movies were obviously watched by most of the population in the world as they were super hit and popular, therefore majority of the people who watched these movie were affected by the violent acts which lead to the failure in the normal development of their lobes in the brain. Basically, it had become an issue. In order to try and cope up with the issue, the government came up with a law that people only 21 years and above will be allowed to watch movies which have violent content. It is mandatory now for every film to obtain the censor certificate from the Censor board which is present in every country. The censor board which consists of experts decides which parts of the film should be censored and which film is suitable for a particular group of viewers.

     

    Another reason why it is important to censor violent acts is that in the third world countries majority of the population is uneducated. When these illiterate and semi-illiterate humans watch these movies, they are unable to understand and analyze the situation in the movie. It has been observed that if the movie contains criminal acts like murder, kidnapping etc, these people take ideas from the movie and do it in reality may- be to earn money in their otherwise miserable lives. According to a survey, the city of Delhi in India was reported to have a very high crime rate in which the murder of the employer by young servants was the most predominant among others. The reason for this was due that the young servants learned the tricks from the movies which prompted them to try out these violent acts against their employers. Most of the young children convicted under Juvenile crime act did confess that they learned all these crimes from the movies and films.  But if we censor these kinds of scenes then it will contribute to peace and harmony in the society.

     

               

    Can fairy tale movies be harmful? They cannot be harmful after all they are fairy tale and fairy tale meaning untrue or unreal, fictional. It is not that only violent movies make an impact. The fairy tale movies involving fictional characters are produced for children specifically for age group 4 to 8 years. These children understand the basic plot of the movie but fail to recognize that its fairy tale not reality. As young minds are impressionable, some of the children get influenced by the movie and try to depict the characters (usually the protagonist) using their manners etc .Few years back, there were several incidents when young children tried to imitate the super power acts of Spiderman, Batman etc. They jumped from the balconies of their houses and hurt themselves and some of them unfortunately lost their lives thinking that they can fly just like super man, bat man etc. In order to prevent the repetition of such disturbing incidents now, it is mandatory for the producers of these movies to issue a statement in the beginning of the film that these acts are dangerous and it is prohibited to try out these by the general public. Hence, censorship in this form has been used to save the innocent lives.

     Censorship is extremely necessary in keeping the peace and harmony of a country. In the present turbulent times, religion does give peace of mind to an individual however if religion is used to hurt the sentiments of the people who believe in certain ideology, then censorship should be used to protect the people from getting hurt. In 1998, after the demolition of a sacred mosque in India, there were riots between the Muslims and the Hindus in which many people lost their lives. The print media decided not to publish photographs viewing the violent acts and stop writing about stuff which will further flare up the sentiments. Similarly the television media didn’t broadcast the video which contained the violent scene because the media thought the people who were watching this event on television might choose a side and start hitting their opponents (enemies).

     

    Some people might argue that every individual has fundamental right for correct information and by censoring the contents of the news we are distorting the facts. In some cases it does happen like that, however I feel that if by using censorship one can save a few lives then it is totally justified. Few years back the Government of Denmark refused to ban the carton strip making fun of the Prophet Mohammad. The consequences are still being felt where the entire Muslim world felt hurt and protested often violently against the Danish government. In many Muslim countries, people have stopped using Danish products as a mark of protest. A desperate yet temporary action would have saved the situation.

     

               

     

    While writing books, the authors should keep in mind to avoid using language or content that can hurt any section of society. Many books and magazine have been banned or burned in several countries because they have contents that can hurt and put the lives of certain individuals in danger. E.g. The book “Satanic Verses” written by Salman Rushdie was banned in several parts of the world because it had insulting references to the Prophet Muhammad which hurt the sentiments of the Muslim people.

     

                Censorship is also necessary to protect the individual’s private lives. We all know how Princess Diana was always chased by the media people and her private life as well as her public life was written about. Most of the Hollywood stars and other celebrities often become victim of this also. Censorship is often used to protect their private lives and their identities.

     

    Censorship is necessary because it acts like a shield and conceal factors which are inappropriate such as swearing. Swearing is inappropriate. Swearing is offensive and it can insult people and their personality. Ages below 18 should be restricted to use these swear words. Infact, people who are under 18 years old shouldn’t be introduced to these swear words. Many adults take swearing casually. Some adults strictly warn their children and prohibited their children to swear to swear but curiosity overcomes them and they swear. Some experts say that swearing is an addiction especially if you start swearing at a young age. If swearwords are censored then people won’t even under stand swear words. Additional to that, the people won’t swear and this will increase the reputation of the community. So don’t Risk your tongue by swearing just the way you risk heart and lungs by smoking.     

     

     Censorship is necessary however one should assess the situation and decide how much, where and why. I strongly feel that if by censoring certain acts, one can save some lives and maintain general peace and harmony in the society then it is worth the effort. Even though censorship is restricting freedom in a way it’s making world a safer place to live in.

     

     

     

     

     

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