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Censorship Is A Powerful Tool That Can Benefit Or Harm Society

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Censorship was introduced in the 1800s but was abolished half a century later in 1905. Some forms of censorship were still legal but were finally abrogated on April 27, 1917. But in October 1917 the decrees were lifted and censorship was fully installed back into media and is still in place to this very day. Censorship, what is it really? Is it necessary? Censorship is described as censors that regulate what people can see and what people can view within the media. Censorship is the subduing of speech or other communication towards the public. It can be considered offensive, detrimental, sensitive, or inappropriate as determined by the government, media outlet, or controlling body. Censorship ranges from muting offensive words to completely removing segments of a show or stream. Censorship has many pros, as well as cons (both have supporting facts), and reasons why it could be associated with dictatorship.

Censorship has benefited the media and the people throughout history. Minors across the country have benefited from the system that’s has been put into place. When a minor commits a crime, their identity is concealed so they still have the opportunity to get into college and receive jobs. Also, rape victims have their names concealed so they do not have to be further traumatized from humiliation by the public. United States anti-government groups want to pop the lid with the amount of secrecy the government has. For one instance, in 1971 The New York Times released these articles, formerly called the Pentagon Papers. These papers described the controversial topic of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The government has a very difficult relationship with the media, regulating what they can and can not show. Censoring inappropriate content and even creating a completely different search engine has benefited cautious parents. This background has provided ample information as to the means of censorship and how it benefits the eye of the beholder.

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Censorship, evidently, has had some faults as to the system it follows. Censorship has concealed secrets that have covered up major scandals. There is a term that describes the accidental spike of attention towards something or someone by trying to conceal it. The masses have called it “The Streisand Effect,” named after famous entertainer Barbara Streisand. Other examples include the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who had a book written about the corruption that he fornicated in South Africa. The government set a ban in 24 hours to ban the book across the country, inadvertently the book's sales spiked. Those events made the book a national bestseller and led to multiple rewrites. Even with the censorship, there are many loopholes in the system. Many primary sources from traumatic events believe the actual footage should be aired instead of the censored videos. Innovations in technology have given hackers more resources to hack and find non-censored videos to publish to the public.

Activists against censorship believe that it is pro-dictatorship. In times of civil unrest, dictators can use this tool to wreak havoc on the people. There have been times in the past where dictators censor shows talking about issues of the government and politics. People who slander their leader are censored and can’t have their voice expelled for everyone to hear. When the Nazis successfully orchestrated the fall of democracy in Germany, they enacted a huge propaganda campaign to win the hearts of Germans. After they had a grip on entertainment, media, and communication they suffocated and blocked anything that threatened the Nazi beliefs. These events that happened in history have led some parts of modern audiences to believe specific things are shown to promote different messages or to damage someone’s reputation. According to Donald Trump, there are fake news outlets that portray different parts of his speeches to make him sound hateful and racist. These censorship skills have been proven to ruin careers and bend the word of certain people, regardless of status.

Censorship is a powerful tool that can benefit or harm society and people. It can be beneficial in some ways but can also be potentially harmful if used improperly. It can either result to spread balanced information or conceal the truth about controversies people deserve to know. Now, the burden lies on the shoulders of the people associated with its implementation. What is paramount is for members from both sides of the line, supporters and skeptics, to continue debating on the issue to achieve a kind of censorship that will work for the majority. Censorship is a common tool that can be utilized by the common person, no matter the situation.

Works Cited:

  1. Coetzee, J. M. 'Emerging from Censorship.' Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Jeffrey W. Hunter, vol. 194, Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center, http:// u=ft58823&sid=GLS&xid=71a0e153. Accessed 5 Dec. 2018. Originally published in Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship, University of Chicago Press, 1996, pp. 34-47;
  2. Olmsted, William. 'Apostasy Apostasized: the effects of censorship and self-censorship on Baudelaire's 'Le Reniement de saint Pierre'.' Nineteenth-Century French Studies, vol. 36, no. 1-2, 2007, p. 109+. Literature Resource Center, http:// u=ft58823&sid=GLS&xid=12ea7706. Accessed 5 Dec. 2018;
  3. Olmsted, William. 'Emma versus the proprieties: censorship, self-censorship, and revision in Madame Bovary.' The Romanic Review, vol. 101, no. 4, 2010, p. 765+. Literature Resource Center, u=ft58823&sid=GLS&xid=903eef88. Accessed 4 Dec. 2018.
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Censorship Is A Powerful Tool That Can Benefit Or Harm Society. (2021, August 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Censorship Is A Powerful Tool That Can Benefit Or Harm Society.” Edubirdie, 16 Aug. 2021,
Censorship Is A Powerful Tool That Can Benefit Or Harm Society. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
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