Reasons for Media Censorship

Censorship in Media can obstruct transfer of crucial information but sometimes a problematic situation may require such a censorship. There are a number of reasons for Media Censorship. Read on to understand the same.
| Thursday, November 13, 2008
Censorship and the debate surrounding it has never been so much in circulation as in present times. Censorship can be simply defined as a control exercised over the ideas and information circulated among people. Some common ways in which censorship is enforced include bleeping of words, blocking of images displayed etc. Censorship in media has been seen in almost every country and has been the stand out feature of many dictators. History has been replete with examples of individuals with power exercising their power to affect mass media censorship. This is because media has always had a massive following and reader base.

Dissemination of information is immediate through the media and can therefore have far reaching effects. While the debate on censorship in the media is a never ending one there are some definite advantages of media censorship. Freedom of speech is one of the most basic of human rights and yet there are some boundaries that need to be drawn with particular respect to sensitive issues. Some of the reasons for media censorship include:
  • Barring or controlling content that is obscene or sexual, language that is obscene, content that displays violence, use of drugs and other questionable content. The requirement to bar or limit the content is to ensure that the interests of children and family are protected and the religious beliefs are respected. Pornography censorship is widely seen around the world and it may seem correct that such a censorship is enforced particularly with the ease with which such material can be obtained and accessed through the internet. Other morally questionable material is also often subject to censorship.
  • Religion and religious beliefs are also used as a rationale for media censorship or suppression. Sometimes it is important to control the information particularly where the situation pertains to religious problems and information wrongly distributed in a tense situation can cause explosive results. However religion has been wrongly used to clamp down on media, particularly in some eastern parts of the world.
  • The developing world has also in the past used their culture and customs as a reason while enforcing media censorship using the argument that media and the western culture are responsible for harming its people and their long standing traditions.
  • Security of the nation and defense is also another reason why censorship of media widely occurs. Military censorship has been used to guard military intelligence and other security aspects. Since time immemorial governments have been known to exercise their powers and influence to clamp down on media outlets so as to turn around a situation to their advantage or at least as a way to reduce the public disapproval towards its wrong functioning.
  • At times historical events and considerations were also used to implement censorship in media. E.g.: In Germany it is illegal to glorify in any way the Nazis or their activities and symbols.
  • Many eastern countries have had histories of dictators enforcing media censorship to cover up for the atrocities and wide spread problems created by their governments.Political censorship has been used as a tool to curb free expression. In present times internet is one medium that has allowed faster transfer of information and has been used by governments and other agencies to restrict the transfer of information in some cases.
  • Companies have also at times resorted to media censorship whereby information pertaining to their business activities is controlled or restricted. This is particularly practiced where companies have had to face adverse publicity because of some problems in its business operations.