Rewriting History: The Power of Censorship
The history of the world has undoubtedly been dominated by an endless struggle for power. However, after a brief glimpse into the pages of history it should not take long to realize that the trick to maintaining power lies in the control of information. Even the most fearsome military generals of the past acknowledge the power of the mind and ideas over lethal force. Former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once said “… [Ideas] are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, then why should we let them have ideas.” Stalin’s quote personifies the main concept of this literature review which will be discussing the history of government censorship and its effects that are prudent today. Several tactics will be examined that relate to the commanding regime’s attempts at influencing the public with an array of propaganda. The main topic will cover the struggle of historians’ to accurately depict epic battles in Europe and Asia, to the conflicts in the deserts of the Middle East.
Some of the most interesting questions about censorship’s role in the power of the government are ironically, what questions the government allows to be asked. In fact, Michael Scammell quickly points out that “one of the first words to be censored by the censors is the word censorship”. This literature review will be focusing on the ability of historians to establish and efficiently report an accurate message to the masses. Herein lays the philosophical debate of where to draw the line between the dangerous reality of the world and the public’s right to the truth. Moreover, the goal of this study is to answer questions that pertain to just that, to seek out information qualitatively and determine; how censorship can be justified? What is the relationship between propaganda and censorship? Which methods do censors use? What are the intended and unintended effects of censorship?
The right to wield the sword of censorship and rewrite the history books is a right that can be attained far too easily. It is the duty of the historian to cast light on events even when facing the treat of persecution. Those who have ascertained that privilege of power must tread softly and be prepared to justify their actions. “Censorship of history must be taken as the systematic control of the content or exchange of information and ideas concerning the past imposed by, or with the connivance of, the authorities” (De Baets, 2002 p.5). The question remains of what is the past, where does it begin or end, and who is in charge of it? The answer is far too often overlooked, the role of the historian is essential in how events are remembered and memories are weighed. This study will trace the footsteps of past historians and observe history from their vantage point.
The first topic that must be addressed is the question of how censorship is justified. From the earliest times rulers have restricted the ability to freely express information. The urge to stay in a position of power inclines leaders to,”…falsify the past to root their power, the present to glorify it, the future to immortalize it. None of the stages of historical scholarship is safe from propaganda and censorship.” (De Baets, p. 17) Moreover, “When those in power find free speech uncomfortable, they’re tempted to squash it” (Schools fail). However, do not prematurely condemn the motives or jump to any conclusions about who is to blame. The fact is that every government imposes some sort of constraints on information. It could have intentions to protect its citizen’s privacy or an issue of national security. At that moment the power at be is identifying with the interests of the state and are then perceived as mere caretakers. (De Baets, p.7) This reveals an extremely complex, and fine line between offender and victim. The motives of the governing body must be carefully considered to determine their position and must rely on...
...Controversy over censorship on the internet.
The internet since its beginning has always been has been a nightmare for the any government. On the one hand government has to encourage internet development and protect freedom of the press. On the other the same freedom combined with anonymity that run the network is seeing as a thread. Now a days countries like China have censor in one way or another content that harm their interest. Some may even punish those who express their opinions against the “national interest.” Millions of ideas are silenced and many others hidden. Meanwhile, freedom of the press, expression and the right to information not only protected by the first amendment of the US constitution but also in the Article 19 of the Human Rights are reduced to urban legends.
This time, however, and unlike what usually happens in the physical world, the need to control the environment is not limited to countries with authoritarian regimes, but to America where many immigrants come to our country looking for freedom.
In order to fully understand the controversy over censorship over the internet we have to see the two sides of the coin. Pro and Cons. People against censorship and their reasons, people that support censorship and why they support it. For the supporters of censorship, they claim restricting the access of information is something that can provide benefits to our society. By...
..."Censorship is the act of suppressing publications, movies, television programs, plays, letters, and so on that are considered to be obscene, blasphemous, or politically unacceptable" (MccGwire 4). Censorship should be enforced because it is needed into today's society. Censorship needs to be used in media, hate speech, and obscene material.
To begin with, the media has very negative effect on society as a whole. "The mass mediamovies, television, and recordingsneed to be regulated, and not only because of appeals to irresponsible lust"(Lowenthal 19). "They have immersed us in violence as well, habituated us to the most extreme brutality, held it up as a model and surrounded us by images of hateful human types so memorable as to cause a psychological insecurity that is dangerous"(Lowenthal 19). "The only answer is governmental regulation, if necessary prior to publicationthat is, censorship." (Lowenthal 19). The media has influenced young children into thinking that violence is acceptable. Children learn acceptable codes of conduct by imitating their mentors and others, such as celebrities that they look up to. Society needs to set a good example for children so that they can build bright futures for themselves.
The media is partly to blame for many of the hate crimes that take place in today's world. "Perhaps you have seen studies' by some experts telling you that depictions of violence do not lead...
...Honors English Comp. II
April 23, 2010
Censorship; A Child’s Daily Vitamin
It can be alleged that American children are addicted to television. However, some television programs repeatedly expose children to obscenity-laden language and casual sex related situations. The influence that this type of viewing poses on school-age children must be monitored. The argument surrounding media censorship and children has been widely disputed.Censorship, by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, is the systematic effort, usually by a state or government, to forbid speech, publications, or other forms of expression that are deemed objectionable. The 19th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically enjoins that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” (Bender 147). Therefore giving a basis for media directors and program supervisors to create and put on the air their own means of expression. Censorship justifies the limitation of expressions that cross the lines of human morality and humanity causing it to be in society’s best interest to protect the vulnerability of developing children. With the arrival of the digital age of media viewing, new problems relating to censorship have aroused and in many ways legislation has failed to keep up. Ultimately it is the state that has both authority and the means to implement the widespread use of...
...ENGL 1123 P18
A Critical Response to “Censorship: A Personal View”
In the article “Censorship: A Personal View”, an introduction to her book Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writer, Judy Blume, an advocate in the anticensorship movement, shares her experiences dealing with censorship and the banning of books throughout her career as a writer of children’s books. In this article, Blume explains how being told not to do or read certain books increases temptation and desire to do the exact opposite due to curiosity, especially in children. Blume implies that the creativity of writers is blocked because they are afraid that what they write may get censored and put on the restricted shelves and never read by their targeted audience. She also argues that the banning of books in classrooms may hinder the learning of children. While censorship is important, it should be censored to certain age groups, but available to the older age groups such as adolescents in middle school and should not affect educational material.
To Kill A Mocking Bird written by Harper Lee, The Scarlet Letter written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, or Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and The Diary of Anne Frank written by Anne Frank herself are all victims of the censorship cruelty and have been banned in some schools. What happens to the children that don’t get to read the previously named books? They do not get the...
4 December 2013
CensorshipCensorship— the suppression of ideas and information that are dispersed in a society—is and always has been an idea of controversy throughout history. Censorship is usually set in place to defend against anything that is considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive. Historically, censorship has been a vessel to show power, like how it has been used relating to religion and dictatorships. It occurs in many different contexts like speech, books, music, the press, radio, or the Internet in order to control what information is displayed publically. Although, not all forms of censorship are set in place by a governing body, like self-censorship. In this, individuals limit what they publish in an effort to do many things, like expand the group that reads their material. Censorship can take many forms, through exploring some forms—Internet censorship, self-censorship, and censorship in schools—and looking at the fight against censorship, we can understand what motivates the idea of censorship throughout history.
In Internet censorship, a governing body controls what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet. It is widely known that the Internet has a broad range of information, some of which is not...
...discuss the arguments for the need for censorship in a society. Firstly, it argues that censorship maintains security by providing people with privacy and protects them against illegal material. The essay moves on to discuss social aspects that censorship benefits to a society, such as maintaining the culture of a society and conserving religious values. Finally, the essay claims that politics has need for censorship as it protects the innocence of members in a society and prevents public outbursts. The essay will conclude by explaining the importance of having censorship in societies, especially in modern societies.
(Approx. 99 words)
Arguments for the need for censorship in society
There is an importance, especially in modern societies, for the need of supervision and control of information and ideas that should or should not be made available to the public. One way in which information can be supervised and controlled is by censorship. In a society there can be arguments both for and against the need for censorship. Although most people believe in the importance of freedom of speech, there is also an importance to understand the advantages of having control of what is being said of written in a society. The arguments for the need of censorship in a society are mainly the...
...Censorship in Music Industry
Censorship in the music industry is a very controversial topic. One that has stirred up much debate in the past two decades. There have been many different arguments, however a question still remains. Should music be censored or should it should not be censored. Before you can form an opinion on this, you must hear both sides of the argument. Some people believe that music should be censored so all audiences can hear it without it containing any controversial lyrics. Others believe it should not be censored, and that musical artists should be able to speak, sing, rap, or rhyme freely without anyone filtering out their own personal views or messages. Censoring makes the process of constant change and evolution of society very difficult by preventing new ideas from being presented to people.
"All Censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current beliefs and existing institutions”. (George Bernard Shaw).
This quote is extremely accurate. Religious or moral beliefs have a great influence on how a person feels about censorship, and as new generations come along, they will pass on their common beliefs. This allows the possibility of change. Right now in modern times, America is more free and uncensored then we have ever been before in history. However, things were very different just a few generations ago.
Certain individuals think that music should be censored. Those same...
...express themselves. However, there are many who take it upon themselves to incessantly scrutinize and block that which doesn't appeal to them. Censorship in general means the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship. It occurs in a variety of different contexts including speech, books, music, films and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the internet for a variety of reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children, to promote or restrict political or religious views, to prevent slander and libel, and to protect intellectual property. It may or may not be legal. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and it is frequently necessary to balance conflicting rights in order to determine what can and cannot be censored. In this present era, censorship in America has become a topic of much debate. In my opinion, I feel that censorship should be practiced with whatever issues or materials they announce to the public.
One of the common censorship disputes in America occurs within the news and...