The Censorship Debate

By Dave Meringer

Censorship; the one word that represents all that is evil for a journalist. Censorship in the media in particular is an absolute heated topic in society. There are extreme believers in censorship and then you have those on my side who believe that in most cases we should not have our thoughts and opinions being censored.

Exactly how far is too far when presenting ideas? What is morally right and wrong in the media? For most of us the answers to these seem clear because we make judgments based on what we see, hear and read in the media. However, we have not been invited into the process whereby someone is going through all the raw material and deciding what you are allowed to see, essentially censoring your reality.

It is difficult to distinguish when something should be censored because there are situations where censorship is required. For instance to protect victims, respect the deceased and not allow discriminatory opinions to filter through into our media. However, this process is of course flawed because exactly who should have this right to choose what we see and don’t see?

I do give credit to those who do this job such as editors and publishers but they have a guideline of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and sadly the world is not that black and white. In fact most of the world and the people in it would be better represented as somewhere in the grey. When someone is given the power of censorship we all lose out a little. Sure there may be just one line, idea or joke somewhere in an article or maybe even in the news but we still lose out on that raw individuality that represents the real world.

My problem in particular is when views that oppose the mainstream are not given coverage or even a voice at all. These do not include hateful or discriminatory views but ones that may be considered radical for their originality. We are brought up to believe in our privilege of free speech and the power of the press but really there is so much going on behind the scenes that what churns out is premeditated repetitive media. Unfortunately also the few represent the many in the media and therefore what we end up with is the voice of those few which almost always reflects the censorship of society.

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