Is Censorship Justifiable?

Essay by fallingrainHigh School, 12th gradeC+, May 2006

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The freedom to express is essential to the democratic way of life. Today, that freedom is under attack. Both private groups and public authorities everywhere are working to remove various forms of media; newspapers, films, music, and books from public reach, thus silencing these forms of expression. Liberalism is under attack when censorship is put into place, yet, it is understandable why these measures have to be put into place when considering some of the radicals that rebel just for the sake of rebelling.

Censorship, in fact, is not a new process in this world. It has been around for centuries in different forms and applications. Ancient rulers used the rules of censorship to prevent knowledge from getting to their subjects. The ancient roman emperor Augustus - (27 BC - 14 AD) led his subjects by an iron hand, ordering all opposition to be squashed claiming that the loss of liberty was a small price to pay for peace.

Education materials are also censored to ensure the people only learn what is good for the ruler. Another example, in a more modern setting, is Hitler, who would go kill anyone who did not censor their thoughts appropriately and showed any hint of being anti-Hitler. Even religious establishments engaged in censorships, to keep their knowledge to themselves so as to keep themselves and their teachings in high demand.

What exactly, then is censorship? It is the practice of suppressing or deleting anything that is considered undesirable. This leaves a very wide scope, subjecting anyone to the act of censoring. Government authorities who ban a certain book due to its questionable material, would be enforcing censorship, and in the same way, a mother who confiscates a magazine from her teenage son would also be censoring.

Motives for censorship differ across the...