How important is censorship in today’s world? Question word: How Keyword: Important, Today’s World (globalisation, technology etc) Topic word: Censorship

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Jiang Hongxuan, Liu Jiani Sherry, Sit Han Yu, Tong Xueyin 12S7F
How important is censorship in today’s world?

Question word: How

Keyword: Important, Today’s World (globalisation, technology etc)

Topic word: Censorship

Stand: Censorship is important in today’s world but it has its flaws, which result in sacrifices being made, when censorship is put in place.

By the turn of the 21st Century, information transmission has been speeding up rapidly with the advancements in Information Technology. This avenue for rapid communication has increased the incidence of the need for censorship as provocative messages become easily virulent online. Such inflammatory messages threaten not only social stability but also the basic right to live and therefore, the very principles that form the fundamentals of freedom of expression. As such, I believe that censorship is important in upholding peace and stability in a nation and her people. However, I do acknowledge the fact that censorship can be abused by a nation’s government and is less effective in the globalised world and sacrifices are made when censorship is put in place.

Developmental paragraphs


-Censorship preserves the peace and stability in a nation by removing conflicting ideologies.

-The use of censorship to filter political ideologies has been widespread. Even the USA, a forerunner of human rights and freedom of speech, has made use of censorship to remove communist ideologies in the context of the Cold War.

-If censorship were absent, communist ideologies may have emerged from the community and spread. This could possibly cause the polarisation of the state, dividing the community. Thus, the state has a right to intervene and prevent civil unrest, disruption and chaos within a nation through the use of censorship.

-In Singapore’s context, censorship is used to remove messages that promote terrorism and racism, both of which jeopardize the security of the people.

-If censorship were not put in place, Jihadist sentiments may spread amongst the community, which increases the frequency and amount of terrorist activity, posing an even greater threat to society.

-If a government’s failure to enforce censorship sacrifices the preservation of peace and stability within a nation, it has failed in its role and duty of upholding security and justice, which is a responsibility it has to its people.

-Censorship prevents the exposure of the young to inappropriate materials prematurely.

- Research on violent television and films, video games, and music revealed that media violence has increased the prevalence of aggressive and violent behaviour amongst youths.

- Hence, censorship of inappropriate information such as gore and sexual references serves to protect those of tender age, whose immature mentality leaves them vulnerable to the unhealthy messages sent across the screen

- Also, censorship of “Hate” messages, such as the promotion of armed Jihad, reduces the exposure to misleading, and incorrect ideas, that may have detrimental effects on the minds of those who are yet to be prepared to form morally sound opinions of their own

- The beginning of the 21st century faced the emergence of a worldwide network of numerous web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West.

- With the exponential increase in online Jihad recruitment, there is an increasing need for censorship to eradicate these extremist ideas so that young innocent minds would not be polluted with hate and animosity towards another race or religion, and be instigated to take up arms against civilians who happen to have a difference in ideology.
-Censorship is important to prevent confidential information from being leaked to the public

-Sometimes censorship is necessary to keep certain confidential information from being stolen. For example, military censorship is the process of keeping military intelligence and tactics confidential and away from the enemy.

-It is a common practice carried out by countries involved in wars. In wartime, explicit censorship is carried out with the intention of preventing the release of information that might be useful to an enemy.

-Typically it involves keeping times or locations secret, or delaying the release of important information such as an operational objective, until it is of no possible use to enemy forces.

-During World War I letters written by British soldiers would have to go through censorship. This consisted of officers going through letters with a black marker and crossing out anything which might compromise operational secrecy before the letter was sent.

-Few people can argue against such actions as the release of tactical information can have a dire consequence on the result of war, and thus the security of the country.

-The mass media is too powerful to remain uncontrolled

-With advancements in technology, the volume and the speed of the transmission of information is greatly increased. The media has an even greater power to effect change in a country.

-An incident that illustrates this is the London riots in August 2011. The impatience of youths with the police officers in ignoring a family’s demand for justice for the death of a family member caused youths to organise and stage protests that eventually broke into riots nationwide, causing economic loss and social instability.

-The scale of the riots is caused by the fact that the youths used social media such as Facebook and Blackberry Messenger to send messages to youths across the country to gain support for the riots.

-Thus it can be seen that the media is used as a tool for coordinated action to be taken from different locations that are long distances apart. This strengthens the media’s grip on the affairs and happenings of the world and reduces the amount of control that governments and authorities have on such situations, leading to severe consequences, such as social instability in the case of the London riots.

-Thus, in the case of the London riots, for the government and authorities to maintain control over the situation and the people, the media has to be controlled through censorship to remove the messages that has helped to spread the riots.

-Therefore, censorship is important to enforce control over a country’s citizens.
However, censorship does have its shortcomings despite its importance.

-Censorship is less effective in a technologically advanced and globalised world

-Nowadays, people can easily travel from country to country to discuss about ideas or read materials unavailable in their own country

-People can also express their own suppressed opinions more easily such as Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, who exhibited pieces of works outside China

-The flow of information is increasingly more difficult to control because of developments in technology such as mobile phones and social media. For example, governments may make restricted access to certain websites online. However, this effect can be easily bypassed through the use of foreign proxy servers, allowing these websites and their information to be circulated.

-Hence censorship is less effective in a world where the volume and speed of the transfer of information is greatly increased.

-Censorship often crosses the boundary of protection, leading to abuse by governments

-An example of such a country is North Korea. It is routinely at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index Rankings published by Reporters Without Borders. It invests huge amounts of resources into propaganda.

-The North Korean government controls all forms of media and the government and its deeds are often glorified and exaggerated in the news.

-The media often make false claims and launches strong rhetorics against the Western World

-This aligns the people’s beliefs closer to the dictatorship’s ideologies. Hence the people are manipulated to allow the self-interests of the officials in the government to be fulfilled, resulting in corruption.

-Hence censorship does have its problems and can be abused to fulfil the self-interests of those in power.

-Censorship deprives the majority of a wider spectrum of information

-Society benefits more without censorship in place. Without censorship to restrict and remove ideas, a free media market would be responsive to the preferences individuals might have.

-Such a “marketplace of ideas”, a concept analogous to the economic concept of a free market, involves the competition of a wide range of ideas in free and transparent public discourse. In this model, it is believed that the best idea arises out of the competition and the model is a key aspect of any liberal democracy.

-If censorship were put in place, a large portion of the marketplace of ideas is removed, depriving people of a wider range of ideas. With a lack of fresh ideas, society may become ignorant and have an increasingly homogeneous viewpoint, stifling creativity, a prized quality in the 21st century.

-Many a times, the route to educational attainment via unconventional material faces insurmountable challenge due to variations in the criteria for censorship. Eg....

In conclusion, even though censorship has inherent flaws and sacrifices are made when censorship is put in place, it is still important in preserving the peace, stability and security of a country in today’s world. To prevent the state from abusing censorship and minimise the removal of ideas from the marketplace of ideas, I recommend that a panel of foreign arbitrators should be set up that decides what should or should not be censored so as to maximise the benefits gained by the people. In addition, opposition parties can be involved in the decision-making process to serve as a check and balance for the government. This way, the credibility of the censorship board is greatly increased and censorship can be more widely accepted.

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