At what level can censorship be accepted?

by ws-champlain on September 10, 2013 - 3:21pm

Censorship is to delete or hide information, opinions or expressions made by the government or any other authority that had control over its circulation. In a democracy, this phenomenon occurs when the information or other goes against a powerful social structure such as government and religious institutions. Nowadays, censorship can be seen as a violation of human rights, like freedom of speech. Although, in open societies, there is less of a debate regarding this subject because many will argue that censorship is sometimes needed in order to assure national security like in time of war. On the other hand, in democratic societies, even though it is a highly controversial subject, censorship is still present. Finally, in regards to totalitarian societies, censorship is more than accepted because everything is regulated by the government and that the only information that is available to the population is the one that is allowed and that does not negatively affect the political system. The importance of censorship is so high that people that try to stop it can even be punished with death. Internationally, it is known that in order to maintain power over the country, censorship is a key for totalitarian countries. If this phenomenon would not be established as a norm in these countries, people would know more about other systems and how free people are around the world compared to them. Even though censoring is used in modern societies, it is nothing new. Back then, censorship was used when the information was either a blasphemy or ideas that did not go with what the Church believed was right.


Many ethical principles and human rights are addressed through this issue. Two of the most important human rights that people will say is being restricted is the right to freedom of expression and the right to be informed. When there is censoring of information, people are not getting everything delivered to them, which is not respecting the liberty they have the right to have. On the other hand, people have the right to be informed of whatever is in their best interest. If the masses don’t have access to the whole information, they will not be able to make a well based decision. This is where people tend to disbelief governments or other important institutions, because most of the information that is released regarding them, is only the one that makes them look good. However, the principle of equal consideration of interest is the complete opposite of what we just said. The ones that are in favor of censorship, believe that it is in the best interest of various groups in certain circumstances. Although, by saying that, there is no limit that is being set as to what level should censorship be accepted. Also, the population could argue that the principle of equality is being forgotten, and that it is not fair that only a few selected people have the right to know the truth or have a full access to information. Finally, these are only a few of the ethical principles and human rights that are involved in this really controversial issue.


Lastly, in my opinion, the strongest side would be to completely banish censorship. Only by abiding to the human rights, it is clear that censorship goes totally against what has been established. In this case, the government or other powerful groups will only be encouraging to its infraction. Likewise, because censorship is a really complicated issue to manage, there is no way a clear and reasonable accommodation could be made. In fact, it would be really hard to say when censoring could be accepted or not. Last of all, I do believe that censorship should be punished and that governments and others should not have the right to do such thing.

Aliprandini, MichaelWagner, Geraldine. "Censorship & Democracy: An Overview." Points Of View: Censorship & Democracy (2013): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 10 Sept. 2013.


Your topic is really interesting, as I know that many countries still, to this day, have censored information, especially on the internet. I find it myself very bad for the knowledge of people, as many information that is censored can help people obtain knowledge on certain subjects regarding rights but also to allow them to discover things that are unknown. I find it does restricts freedom, especially freedom of speech, in the way that a person cannot post his/her opinion that goes against the elite's point of view.And for the people who are restricted from the basic information that can help for the well-being of the society, because knowledge for me is the key to freedom.
Good post, it brings a lot to think about the motives of those governments or elite groups who censor information.
Do you think the governments only uses censorship for political reasons, or is it just an easier way for them to control a society that is oblivious to what surronds them?

It is a very interesting article. What brought my attention to it was the title. It made me want to know more about this controversial subject. Also, I believe, just like you, that censorship should be completely banished, because I think that it stops people from being informed of important things, such as information that could save people’s lives and other that could help discover new remedies and technologies. Furthermore, I believe that censorship brings two important rights to mind, such as the right to be informed and the right for freedom of speech. In this case, people should have the right to know all information that is in their interest to know. That can be crucial in some circumstances, when people need to make well informed decisions. Then, our right for freedom of speech is not respected, as we cannot fully express what we want to say, for fear that we might be disapproved from others. This right is very important for me, as I believe that it is the basis for open-mindedness and freedom. In the end, if censorship was to be banned, do you think that another form of control on our rights of freedom and speech would be created?

The topic is interesting because it questions the government’s authority on deciding what its society is allowed to know. I agree with you, censorship should be completely banned. People have the right to know what is going on around them and have the actual truth rather that only the information their government wants to give them. By censoring information, the government is imposing its point of view to the rest of society, which goes against the freedom of expression. Everyone should have the right to use their critical thinking to make their own opinion on a subject. To be able to have a clear point of view, it is fundamental to take into consideration every side of the story. However, with censorship this is not possible because the government only shows part of a story and omits important details. Nevertheless, sometimes, are there some information that should be censored for the own good of the population?

Your article caught my attention because censorship is (ironically enough) not frequently talked about even in democratic societies like the one we currently live in. Agreeing with you, I think that censorship does not have it's place in government/public affairs for it goes against our democratic values. An example where censorship was in full effect for many years happened just on the other side of the river in Montreal, where city counsellors were dealing in massive corruption behind everyone's backs. Luckily, we've been able to unveil all this mayhem that was happening. What if there were even more situations like that, but we couldn't do anything about it from lack of knowing the problem even exists in the first place? This goes against my personal values of honesty, collective responsibility, individual freedom, etc. that are all very important in my eyes. Could you think of any reasons where censorship could be tolerated?