GRE Issue Essay 53
“Censorship is rarely, if ever, justified.”
Censorship is the act of criticizing something publicly because of its nature. On one hand, we are given the freedom of speech and expression and on the other hand, the censor boards that are set up to curb the information or put restrictions over the details meant for public take this freedom away. However, I disagree with the given statement that censorship is hardly ever justified. I believe that though it is undemocratic, censorship is justified as long as it is in general public interest.
We live in a society where people come from different backgrounds, religions, ethnic groups, casts and classes. What is acceptable in one class may not be acceptable to another class. Therefore, if an issue arises which is against the ideals of a particular class, it can arouse public ire. Sometimes this anger can take the shape of hooliganism and riots. Hence, it is best to put restrictions on the issue so that it is not made public. It is only with some checks and controls that all these classes can co-exist in harmony.
For example, when the media handles an issue, it has the freedom of speech and expression. The media persons and reporters have the right to put their point of view across to everyone. However, in the process of reporting any issue, the media also should not hurt the sentiments or feelings of any particular class or of people in general. It is possible that some such pictures are depicted on the television or some comments are published that arouse the anger of people. It is true that these pictures and comments show the reality but they are not in the favour of general peace and harmony. Such truth that can create a mob out of a group of people should be curtailed from being given out in the public by the means of censorship.
Let’s take another example. A child can be molded to direction in his tender age. He gets affected by many things that he sees and hears. Therefore, if he is exposed to violent and action packed movies it can have a perverse affect on his mind and eventually on his attitude. In this case, it becomes very important to censor the movies as well as cartoons that depict aggressive behavior for children. While parents have a duty to put restrictions at a personal level, the censor board should keep a general check to restrict the screening of such movies for kids under a certain age group.
The media, writers, leaders as well as youth icons have a great influence on the public. Everything they say or do creates ripples amongst people. They, therefore, have an added responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony in the society. If they do something that is not accepted by people, it can create disturbance and chaos. That is why censorship is required over literary works, movies, and other things involved with these people to keep a check and control their behavior that can affect the public. It is correct that what they do in their life is their personal matter but they are not given the right to hurt the sentiments and feelings of others. It can be argued that censorship is against the right of people to be informed but it is necessary, to a great extent, for the development of a healthy society. It should not be used arbitrarily, but must be practiced at places that can cause harm to the society.