Censorship: A Global And Historical Perspective
This is true Liberty when free born men Having to advise the public may speak free, Which he who can, and will, deserv’s high praise, Who neither can nor will, may hold his peace What can be juster in a State then this?Euripides
Perhaps the most famous case of censorship in ancient times is that of Socrates, sentenced to drink poison in 399 BC for his corruption of youth and his acknowledgement of unorthodox divinities. It is fair to assume that Socrates was not the first person to be severely punished for violating the moral and political code of his time. This ancient view of censorship, as a benevolent task in the best interest of the public, is still upheld in many countries, for example China. This notion was advocated by the rulers of the Soviet Union , who were responsible for the longest lasting and most extensive censorship era of the 20th Century.
The struggle for freedom of expression is as ancient as the history of censorship. The playwright Euripides defended the true liberty of freeborn menthe right to speak freely. Nevertheless, he was careful to point out that free speak was a choice.
When Words Incite Breach Of Peace
In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire , the Supreme Court defined fighting words as those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. Racial epithets and ethnic derisions have traditionally been unprotected under the umbrella of fighting words.
Since the backlash against so-called political correctness, however, liberals and conservatives have fought over what derogatory words may be censored and which are protected by the First Amendment.
Censorship In The Union Of Soviet Socialist Republicsthe Longest Tradition In The 20th Century
The Russian empire had a long tradition of strict censorship and was slow to adopt the changes that central European countries had implemented a century before. Censorship reforms were started in a single decade of tolerance, from 1855 to 1865 during the reign of Tsar Alexander II. There was a transition from legislation on pre-censorship to a punitive system based on legal responsibility. During this decade the press enjoyed greater freedom and more radical ideas were voiced. Nevertheless censorship laws were re-imposed in 1866 practically eliminating the basic ideas of the reform. Only half a century later the law of 1905-1906 abrogated pre-censorship. Finally, all censorship was abolished in the decrees of April 27 1917 that the Temporary Government issued.
Sadly the freedom was short lived as the decrees only were in force until October 1917. This began a new, long and extensive era of strict censorship under the revolutionary rulers of the USSR lasting until the end of the 1980s. Taking into account the long history of strict censorship during tsar-regimes, the Russian people have only been without formal censorship in the last decade of this millennium.
The USSR Exported the Glavlit System to Occupied Countries
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Expressive And Symbolic Speech
Certain forms of speech are protected from censure by governments. For instance, the First Amendment protects pure speech, defined as that which is merely expressive, descriptive, or assertive. The Court has held that the government may not suppress speech simply because it thinks it is offensive. Even presidents are not immune from being criticized and ridiculed.
Less clearly defined are those forms of speech referred to as speech plus, that is, speech that carries an additional connotation. This includes symbolic speech, in which meanings are conveyed without words.
In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District , the Court upheld the right of middle and high school students to wear black armbands to school to protest U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Despite repeated attempts by Congress to make it illegal to burn or deface the flag, the Court has held that such actions are protected. Writing for the 5-4 majority in Texas v. Johnson, Justice William J. Brennan Jr. stated, We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents.
When speech turns into other forms of action, constitutional protections are less certain.
The Authority Of The Postal Service
Although the art of printing was vital to the dissemination of knowledge, the establishment of a regular postal service was also an important advancement to communication. First established in France in 1464, the postal service soon became the most widely used system of person-to-person and country-to-country communication.
Consequently, the postal service also played a crucial role as an instrument of censorship in many countries, particularly in times of war. The British Empire efficiently employed censorship of mail during the first half of the 20th century. Even in today, the postal service remains a tool of censorship in countries where the import of prohibited literature, magazines, films and etcetera is regulated.
In Europe printing naturally also spurned the development of newsletters and newspapers. TheRelation of Strasbourg published in 1609, was regarded as the first regularly printed newsletter. Soon the establishment of newspapers in other European countries followed, catering to a growing public demand for news and information. The first newspaper appeared in 1610 in Switzerland, in the Habsburg territories in Europe in 1620, in England in 1621, in France in 1631, in Denmark in 1634 and Italy in 1636, in Sweden in 1645, and in Poland in 1661. In some regions of India, however, newsletters had been circulated since the 16th century.
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Laws Attempting To Reduce Anti
In 1919 in Schenck, the government charged that encouraging draftees not to report for duty in World War I constituted sedition. In this case, the court held that Schencks actions were, indeed, seditious because, in the words of Justice Holmes, they constituted a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, defined as attempting to overthrow the government, inciting riots, and destruction of life and property.
The Smith Act of 1940 and the Internal Security Act of 1950, also known as the McCarran Act, attempted to stamp out communism in the country by establishing harsh sentences for advocating the use of violence to overthrow the government and making the Communist Party of the United States illegal.
The George W. Bush administration and the courts have battled over the issues of warrantless wiretaps, military tribunals, and suspension of various rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions, which stipulate acceptable conditions for holding prisoners of war.
Freedom Of Speech And Censorship
How it works
The government needs to also look at the First amendment that gives Americans the freedom of speech. Although freedom of speech gave the Americans an opportunity to express themselves, it came with some disadvantages. Some individuals used this freedom to propagate hatred especially racism. Individuals who had something against the blacks would use the freedom of expression clause to protect themselves before making hateful remarks. They would propagate hate between the African Americans and the whites. Some leaders were known for not censoring what they wanted to say no matter how it was interpreted due to the protection that the clause held.
This led to the exceptions to free speech in the united states. This clause outlines limitations on the 1st amendment guarantee of free speech and expression. They include speech that incites lawless action in the state. In the case Schenk v. United states. this law however has since been replaced by Brandenburg V. Ohio where the court ruled government cannot punish an inflammatory speech unless that speech incites people or leads to imminent lawless action. On the matte of inciting, that has to narrow down to moral principle where as an individual you have to narrow down your words to decide if they will bring more harm or good
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Those That Live By The Pen Shall Die By The Sword
With these words the Armed Islamic Group declared war on the media in Algeria, instigating one of the most chilling contemporary examples of the deliberate murder of the messenger. From May 1993 until the end of 1995, 58 editors, journalists and media workers were systematically executed nine were murdered in 1993, 19 in 1994 and 24 in 1995, with the intent of punishing and scaring journalists from acting as mouthpieces for the Algerian authorities. This slaughtering was triggered by the conflict that exploded when the Algerian army disrupted the election of the National Assembly in 1992 to prevent what seemed to be the certain victory of the fundamentalist party Islamic Salvation Front . The Algerian press, having long suffered rigorous censorship, not least during French colonial rule, was caught in the crossfire between the authorities and the opposition.
Interesting Facts For Freedom Of Speech And Censorship Research Papers And Essays
The topic of freedom of speech and censorship is vast and versatile, and, sometimes, it is easy to get lost among interesting ideas. That is why we have decided to collect the most interesting historical facts concerning this topic: The survey conducted in 2002 in the USA by the Freedom Forum Center for First Amendment showed that 42% of the respondents thought that too much freedom was given to the US media. More than 2/3 of the US citizens believe that freedom of speech is crucial, even if people who use it only have something offensive to say. In China, there is a censorship police that monitors people activities and punishes those who say something unpleasant about the government. In the 50s, the word pregnant was censored by the media as it was considered improper. Turkey is the first in the list of countries when it comes to the number of jailed journalists. In Cuba, Internet access is heavily monitored and, as it is very expensive, only ¼ people actually use Internet actively on a daily basis. Government in Iran blocks about 40% of the content on the Web for their citizens.
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Censorship In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 brilliantly illustrates a life where censorship eliminates thought provoking activities and replaces such activities with those of instant gratification. Censorship is a controversial topic that often confuses the common person. Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are offensive, happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others . Knowing the definition of censorship allows for the ability to discern suppression from the whole truth. Why censor in the first place?
Censorship And The Freedom Of Speech And Expression
Benjamin Franklin said, Freedom of speech is the principle pillar of a free government. When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates. The anonymous form of public reach in the form of art and media and their adjourning platforms continues its abnormally fast growth, often leading to one of the most controversial debates of all time. Hostile to the majority view, the reality of censorship is far more disappointing. A sad and often sordid history of censorship methods in a country like India over the years has emancipated in the minds of the current generation how censorship proves to be nothing more than an overrated tool in todays anonymous media generation.
While everybody seems to be discussing the pros of censorship, the cons or the so-called could haves of non-censorship are often overshadowed. The common notion of censorship fails to understand that just like censorship is used to officially restrict justifiable hate and obscenity, it can also be misused to hide facts and truths. The above stated problem of misusing these tools of censorship has risen over the years. The increased scope of media, press, and internet in recent times require an improvised set of censorship rules and the obsolete model no longer holds relevance in todays time.
Censorship And Freedom Of Speech
Capatilist vs. Communist Theory on Speech and Press Freedoms
Thus, on the balance, it seems communist theory is compatible with freedoms of speech, information and protest, but it is far from a fundamental right such as it is under democracy and individual-centered ethics systems like that of Kant and Locke. Freedom of information should only be granted when communist society as a whole is likely to benefit. In this light, it makes much more sense that communist leaders, while still a persecuted opposition philosophy, would strongly support speech rights and later reject them when communism becomes the ruling system. At that point, access to oppositional speech and information is no longer beneficial to the communist state, and thus no longer needed in communist philosophy.
This internet usage boom presents a variety of new challenges to a government adept at censoring traditional media types. The internet is much more vast than the physical realm controlled by China. It is not susceptible to the traditional local control structure relying on dedicated neighborhood party leaders to enforce edicts from the centralized government. Furthermore, the barriers to traditional information distribution of geography, money, and access to printing machinery, are no longer an issue in a digital realm where a cell phone or a few cents can buy time on the internet and allow anyone to blog their opinions.
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How it works
The greatest challenge when it comes to controlling the freedom of speech is in the social media platform is the freedom of seech. Over the years social media has become the major platform where we express our views whether politics, social problems or economic problems. social media has also become a great platform where the leaders have had the opportunity to interacts with its citizen. Twitter specifically is one famous social media platform that is mostly used in engaging leaders and the citizen. The social media has provided a space where you can reach a large number of people and over the years it has even been used to campaign, explain manifestos or create a live session where individuals are able to engage with their leaders on matters pertaining their manifesto and their promises to the people.
Although social media has incredibly changed the way we convey our messages, it has also become problematic as there are no laws guiding freedom of speech in the internet . Because of the web, it is presently conceivable to communicate all the more unreservedly and secretly on issues, be they political, social or monetary with almost no cost. However, concerns have been raised over the utilization of the web in methods for putting limits on what we say and post on the web. This has realized the subject of restriction on the substance we access or post however again it winds up almost impossible as it is viewed as a way of stepping on the freedom of expression.
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Political Correctness And Cancel Culture
The First Amendment refers exclusively to the role of Congress where free speech is concerned. However, the present-day debate about freedom of speech is a bit more complex. Technically, the First Amendment protects a political figures right to express an unpopular opinion in a public forum, a celebritys right to say something offensive, or a journalists right to pen a racially insensitive blog post. Inherent to the First Amendment is the premise that the U.S. government may not create laws infringing on these rights.
However, this premise does not give the speaker immunity to the consequences of their speech. Unpopular speech may not incur government intervention, but it may provoke a response in the public space. Today, that public space includes the sprawling world of the internet, and by extension, social media. Online forums give every individual a public forum for free speech, but they also give broad cross-sections of the public an extremely powerful set of instruments for responding to unpopular speech.
The First Amendment refers exclusively to the role of Congress where free speech is concerned. However, the present-day debate about freedom of speech is a bit more complex. @AcademicInfluxPOST
The internet plays host to a perpetual tug of war between these two interests, and conflicts often produce real-world consequences:
Chairman Raskin To Hold Hearing Examining Political Attacks On Free Speech And Classroom Censorship
Washington D.C. On Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, will hold a hearingto examine the ongoing efforts to prohibit discussion in K-12 classrooms about American history, race, and LGBTQ+ issues, and to punish teachers who violate vague and discriminatory state laws by discussing these topics.
The movement to censor classroom discussion is growing more extreme with proposed legislation that resembles policies implemented in authoritarian regimes. The hearing will examine the impact these laws have on teachers and students and the threat they pose to free speech.
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