Censorship Is A Violation Of Our Human

Right Essay, Research Paper

For centuries governments have tried to regulate materials judged inappropriate or offensive. Turning first to the Bible (Jer. 36.1-26), prophet Jeremiah encountered this policy called censorship, of restricting the expression of ideas and opinions, which are believed to undermine the authority or social and moral order, when the book he had dictated to Baruch was mutilated by King Jehoiakim. (Encyclopedia Britannica, p.365). Censorship is always wrong, no matter how unpleasant the material being censored. But while there are many good reasons to oppose any form of censorship, there are special reasons such as freedom of speech, why the press, writing, and the internet should be free.

Censorship, claims Jolyon Jenkins, never really goes away: it just changes its form. (Hyland, 155). In the distant past St. Augustine agreed that those who are qualified to identify evil should be empowered to prevent its publication. Even now after so many changes in the way of living and thinking, there are people who say that censorship has to exist for some kind of control over the several pieces of information such as secret information, pornography, or the internet. For example, there is anonymity on the Internet and so ages and identities are not known. This makes it hard to determine if illegal activities are taking place with regard to people under the legal age. It is also difficult to completely delete speech once it has been posted, meaning that distributing materials that are obscene or banned becomes easy. The same problem with pornography appears in this discussion.

According to the Penal Code of Japan article 175, A person, who distributes or sells an obscene writing, picture, or other thing of publicity displays the same, shall be punished with penal servitude for not more than two years . . (Laws related to censorship in JAPAN, Internet.) There are people who think that pornography violates a moral standard of propriety. Others see certain types of specific sexual material as dehumanizing women or as undermining respect for women. Susan Brownmiller, the writer, asserts that pornography is the undiluted essence of antifemale propaganda. (Pornography and Censorship, 60-3).

Censoring some points of information is right. But what about others who say books will not stay banned; ideas will not go to jail; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the population to be either fools or slaves? Remember the situation in the ex-USSR where nothing could be published unless it had been approved by the institution known as GlavLit, which was actually the censor s office. It is greatly suppressed human feelings and the freedom of expression opinions that are important.

According to the constitution of Japan article 21 Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed. No Censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated. (Laws related to censorship in JAPAN, Internet.) The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and that this right includes freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Generally, even pornography that does not express opinions would enjoy protection.

All pornography probably expresses something, whether it be a fantasy or an attitude. For instance, certain novels that once were generally found obscene, such as Lady Chatterley s Lover or Ulysses, are probably less widely considered so today. One person s pornographic passage may be another person s realistic depiction of an important part of life. The famous English pornographic novel Ulysses was discussed many times, and now it is said that nothing is wrong with its depictions of sexual matters, that it is not truly pornographic. So, why were there so many efforts to ban the novel and to suppress writer s thoughts if there were nothing obscene?

For all of these reasons the First Amendment in the United States exists to protect speech and activities that are unpopular — if only those ideas which were popular were protected, it would not be needed. The idea of limiting the freedom of speech, writing, and the press, has been the root of so much evil in world history. Does anyone think that the Nazis got to power in Germany by free debate? Does anyone believe that Stalin’s terror regime was the result of people getting together and discussing the issues? No! The freedom of speech, writing, press, and some other kinds of information MUST be protected; it is one of the foundations of free society.


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