Censorship: The Debate Goes On Essay, Research Paper
The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free practice thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peacefully to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances . However, in the 1990 s, many books, music, and online services have been under attack. The banning of literature, music, and other forms of expression is often called censorship. The American Library Association (ALA) defines censorship as the change in the access status of material, made by a governing authority or its representatives . Some of these changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes. These are some of the people that believe that freedom can only exist in a somewhat controlled environment. On the other hand, there are the people who want total freedom to read, write, and do whatever they choose. Will there ever be a happy medium between these two extremes?Banning books has become quite common in the 1990 s. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Data Bank reports that from 1991 to 1994 the number of formal demands for the removal of books from public and school libraries increased by more than 50 percent. In the 4,500 instances of book challenges in 1993, 42 percent of the complaints were successful in having the offending books banned. Of the books being banned, hardly any of them contained pornography, or anything of that sort. In actuality, most of them were among the best-loved modern classics. It seems as though the parents that are trying to have a book censored confuse the book s subject matter with the notion that the author is trying to promote immorality. For example, some people may think that a book that contains profanity may be encouraging children to use bad language. On the other hand, some believe that these parents attempts to censor their children are misguided. Children have been known to want to do something more once they are told not to. In this case, having a parent tell a child not to read a certain book may cause the child to have an even greater desire to read the book. Book banning is certainly not the only type of censorship that this world contains. Music censorship is also very popular. On March 3rd, 1998, police entered the home of a man by the name of Shawn Thomas. They arrested him under charges of rapping . They arrested him because he was on a parole agreement that said that he could not engage in any behavior, which promotes the gang lifestyle. The police felt that he was violating his parole because his music contained lyrics associated with gangs. The First Amendment doesn t apply to censorship of record companies, community groups, or radio stations; but it does apply to censorship of an artist personally. In other words, Shawn can sing about whatever he chooses, but that doesn t mean that stores have to sell his records. Usually when people try to censor music, they don t care how good the song is; they just set out to prove that it is obscene.
Book and music banning has been an issue in this world for quite a long time, but during the last few years, Internet censorship has been on a rise. Lately, many modern governments are attempting to control access to the Internet. They are trying to pass laws that would restrict a freedom that some people take for granted. Since the Internet has no central authority , is makes it difficult for these groups to attempt to censor it. Many people have different viewpoints on whether or not there should be some for of censorship for the Internet. Some people think that filters should be installed into computers to keep the immoral sites from being viewed. Others think that everyone should have individual to look at whatever he/she pleases. There are still others that have their own suggestions on the subject of Internet filtering. Censorship is a very popular topic in this day and age. Book, music, and Internet censorship are among the highly debated topics. Each one of the topics deals with a slightly different type of censorship. Although none of the forms of censorship are exactly the same, the basic principal is. There are some people that feel that not all material is appropriate for everyone, and therefore it should be dealt with accordingly. There really is not one answer that would satisfy the desires of all the different sides. The First Amendment granted citizens of the United States free speech, but a natural side effect of that is censorship. Therefore, as long as people maintain the right to free speech, they can always expect to see censors close behind.