[2015] Hannah Marszalek: Censorship

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by MrsRajan
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[2015] Hannah Marszalek: Censorship


HistoryCensorship was first used in Europe, especially after Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The word censor is from the Latin word "censere", meaning "to evaluate, to examine, to check". A censor was an official in the Roman Empire who resolved problems regarding a person's morality or their property value. At first, censorship was mainly for religious purposes since they were the only things being printed for a time. In the year 1486, the archbishop-elector of Mainz, named Berthold von Henneberg, decided that the archbishopric needed to have a censorship commision. Then, one year later, it was decided that every text printed needs to be pre-authorized.

History (cont.) During the reign of Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), censorship became less religious. Censors were appointed to look over everything that was going to be published, and if they did not approve, the publisher was often jailed and had their works burned. Controversial articles became a problem in the 17th and 18th centuries, and of course this happens today as well. In 1521, a Parisian university decided to censor everything before it was published.


Debated circumstances Pornography is often the reason people believe censorship is imporatant, for they do not believe it is appropriate for anyone to be able to see it. If an unstable or psychotic person used any book or other work as inspiration for their bad deeds, people think that this should become inaccessible to everyone. Others don't agree, because many serial killers use the Bible.

People Using CensorshipThe Government: If shared ideas are false and or dangerous, they censor it.The Church: If something is inappropriate or offensive to their beliefs, it will be censored.Private Pressure Groups: They will try to censor anything inappropriate, controversial, untrue, dangerous, or violent.Public Speakers: They censor something to make it less questionable and more safe. Writers: If they wrote something controversial or questionable, they must make sure people are aware.Artist: It is the law that artists have to give viewers a warning if their art is too inappropriate or violent.Teacher: If a student is offensive or inappropriate in their work, the teacher may not accept it.Parents: If a child is inappropriate, they may be punished.

More circumstancesMost children watch 28 hours of television per week, and there is a good chance that they might stumble across something inappropriate. Many magazines and internet site have ads that are very suggestive. Some people believe that words that are "bleeped out" on television should be, with the issue of freedom of speech, and then others think that all words that are slightly bad should be censored. For some sites, a sign-in is required to view controversial pages. If any sort of writer is writing about something not everyone agrees with or if they are making up lies about a celebrity or someone involved in the government, people think it should not be allowed.

People Fighting BackWhen private groups organize boycotts against stores that sell disapproving magazines, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous.Private pressure groups broadcasted and enforced Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period. The first of two principles in censorship is "content neutrality"-the government cannot limit expression just because any listener, or even the majority of a community, is offended by its content.The second principle is that expression may be restricted only if it will clearly cause direct and imminent harm to an important societal interest. Many parents are concerned about the safety of what their children are watching, but of course the children want freedom. Many people protest censorship because they believe it stops the flow of information. The First Amendment states freedom of speech, so many believe that censorship is against our country’s original laws. Many times, people become angry after something they posted or wrote was flagged or censored, for then they fear people will not get to fully understand what they are saying, no matter what that happens to be.


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