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Television and Media Essay – Dangers of Censorship

Dangers of Censorship

Imagine yourself as a journalist today who is frozen and wakes up in the United States 100 years from now. The country has changed quite a bit from what you remember. Technology has definitely advanced, language seems to have evolved a bit, and nothing looks the same, except fashion. Due to a recent trend that brought back the 90’s you are strangely up on the recent fashion trends. As you roam the streets, you try to gain a bearing on this advanced country so you pick up a newspaper. You notice something rather peculiar about every article – the only source is the United States Government. As you read further, you notice very little information is given at all, and the details that are given are always in favor of the government.

Thinking back to 1999, you remember that high school publications were already censored and college censorship was not far behind. Could that trend have moved all the way to professional journalistic organizations? While this is merely a fictitious projection into the future, it portrays the likely outcome of the precedents that are being set today. If nothing is done, trends in high school and college censorship may lead to total press censorship in the United States, thus violating the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This would, in turn, exterminate journalism and leave an assorted field of public relations.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that “congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” A journalist, whether he or she is a writer, editor, photographer or artist, believes in this right and has an obligation to use it to inform the public. So, the First Amendment not only protects journalists’ rights to free speech, but it also protects the public’s right to information. However, the courts have begun to take away these rights.

It began with high school publications in 1988. During the case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, the U.S. Supreme Court decided against students and gave school officials the ability to censor student publications without violating the First Amendment. High school journalists now have the right to only print what the officials deem appropriate.

Internet Censorship Essay – Censorship and the Internet

Censorship and the Internet

As the First Amendment states, we as Americans are given numerous freedoms. These freedoms become a constitutional right which no one can take away from us. Among these rights are the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Many people feel that with these two freedoms combined they can post on the Internet whatever they want. However, the First Amendment does have limitations. Contrary to what some people may believe, our freedom of speech is not protected when it comes to indecency. This fact, along with several other reasons, is why cyberpornography should no longer be present on the Internet.

My friend was recently doing a report on black holes, so she decided to take her search on the web. What she got as her reply was a black female and her “hole.” Although this may sound humorous at first, we must look at the larger picture. Imagine a young child who does this same search and gets the same reply. It is hard enough for a parent to explain the topic of sex to their child. Once they do the parent wants the child to think of this as something special. Not as something which is depicted on the Internet sometimes in extremely distasteful manners. We must think of a way to limit the replies that people get back.

I do not agree with censorship over the Internet. As in all media people are allowed to speak freely. This is one of our rights. If we do not agree with what the government is currently doing we can speak out against them, and not be punished. It is important that we maintain some control of this freedom. However, I do not feel that pornography falls under this category.

When the topic of taking pornography off of the web comes up people become very angry. These people feel that their rights are being taking away, but in reality this type of “censorship” is already present in today’s media. Although, programming on television has changed greatly over the years, there is still a definite limit on what can be placed on the air. If you want to see detailed sex acts you must pay, often very expensive prices for these channels. You also will never see these vivid pictures in newspapers or news magazines. These graphic pictures are limited in this type of media and for good reason.

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