The Debate of Censorship

Decent Essays
The United States Bill of Rights guarantees its citizens the freedom of expression, but how far does that freedom extend? Does the right to express yourself include the right to observe the expressions of others? According to pro-censorship view holders, it does not. But to those who feel strongly against censorship, the freedom of information, or the “right to know,” should be an absolute right granted to the American public. Censoring material is the responsibility of the individual, not the institution itself, and certainly not the job of a separate institution. Also, the definition of what is censor-worthy is by no means clear. Exercising the freedom of speech has two sides: the speaker and the listener. Censorship is unfair…show more content…
In some places, censored material printed in periodicals is simply marked over with a black line, but in America we sometimes do not know that information is being withheld (Thom). This practice of censored censorship is unethical and unconstitutional. If we don’t know what is being censored, can’t we at least know that something is being censored? The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has certain standards for material to be considered as profane, indecent, or obscene (“Obscene, Indecent”). Unfortunately, not everything can be fit into these cookie cutter categories, and sometimes an object of controversy overlaps into two or more of these classifications. These requirements are tested against what is considered to be an “average person,” but who is this mythical, completely normal individual who decides what is offensive and what is acceptable (“Obscene, Indecent”)? Most of the time, the parameters for censorship are not compared to the views of John Doe, but to an impressionable child. In fact, the FCC only prohibits “profane” and “indecent” broadcasts between the hours of 6a.m. and 10p.m., when a child is less likely to be listening (“Obscene, Indecent”). The FCC also upholds double standards. In recent years, popular “shock jock” Howard Stern was removed from six stations that previously broadcast his show because of his sexual references that
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