Hi, my name is Rachel, a grade 11 student from B.C. and I'm new to Essay Forum. A couple of months ago, I wrote an essay for the Carleton University essay contest to win a $500 scholarship, but unfortunately, I didn't win. I was wondering what I could have done to improve my work. So, the topic was: Is censorship always a bad thing. The essay had to be a max of 1000 words. Any pieces of advice would be much appreciated! Thank you!
When you hear the word "censorship", what comes to mind? Do you think of oppressive governments and dictatorships using it as an instrument of manipulation? Or maybe, you see books and works of art being burned in large bonfires because they are considered obscene, vulgar or immoral. These are common images of censorship, all of which are correct, but they paint a negative picture of the issue, making it seem as though censorship is an entirely evil entity that only destroys. Now, here's a question: Is censorship always a bad thing? Are there ever any instances where its use is justified? The answer is yes. In fact, there are a number of times when censorship use is valid, like protecting children from obscene and harmful materials. Besides that, it is also needed to protect people from racist speech, conserve their privacy and protect the country's National Security.
One of the primary reasons for censorship is to protect children from any material that is immoral and harmful. Some people may disagree, saying that censoring things like swearing and violence in movies will only draw more attention and curiosity towards them. Moreover, they state that it is up to the parents to act as the censurers and not the government. To a certain extent they are right, it is the parents' responsibility to tell their children what is right and what is wrong, but without any sort of censorship, works (especially and most specifically very explicit ones) will be open for everyone to see, and even with the guidance of a parent, it can scar a child mentally. In addition to that, their minds are quite impressionable, leading them to copy what they see or hear. So, viewing a movie like "Child's Play", with all the violence and swearing that it contains, can have detrimental effect on a child's behaviour, but more importantly their psyche.
Not only does censorship protect minors, it is also needed to shield people from racist and hateful speech. Throughout history, we have come across groups of people who have openly incited violence and hatred towards other races and religions. Two of these groups that come to mind are the Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan. The Nazis, headed by the infamous Adolf Hitler, took over Germany during the 1933. A group of racial purists, they were responsible for killing 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and throughout their reign. The Klu Klux Klan, a group of white supremists, was established in 1866, and later made resurgence in the early 20th century in response to the growing support for the equality for blacks. They threatened violence against anyone who supported the movement, as well as foreigners, Roman Catholics and Jews. Now, how would we be able to stop the repetition of such violence and enmity? One way is by using censorship to not allow such hurtful messages to be broadcast to the public. Opponents of this idea claim to say that censoring racist speech goes against the right of freedom of speech. But when such expression pushes violence and hate towards others because of their race or religion, it should not be supported. To illustrate, Canada, as we all know, is a multicultural country, where people of all nationalities and religions have come to find peace and equality. Indecencies, like racism, threaten that peace and do not belong in such a place. Through censorship, we show that things like this will not be tolerated.
In addition to creating and ensuring a safe society for everyone, censorship also protects their privacy. For instance, when a minor commits a crime, censorship (via face blurring, etc) is used in order to protect them from the media and others who may want to harm them by hiding their identity. The same goes for the victims and witnesses of a certain incident. Without censorship, these people are open to the danger if being harmed by others.
Lastly, censorship protects the country's National Security. During wartime, it is very common to see posters that discourage talk of military plans. For example, the "Careless talk cost lives" poster is a very famous one. This wartime propaganda is crucial in ensuring the success of military operations and saving as much lives as possible, by preventing the enemies for learning the secrets and plans of the country's army. Furthermore, it can also protect the country from possible terrorist attacks. For instance, censorship prevents the disclosure of top secret information, like how to build an atomic bomb or how to kill someone, from reaching the hands of terrorists. In a situation like this, censorship use is not just justified; it is needed in order to preserve the country's safety.
In conclusion, censorship is not always a bad thing. It plays a necessary part in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of society, by promoting racial harmony and protecting young minds from corrupting materials, preserving people's privacy and protecting National security. Nevertheless, censorship is not a perfect system and is subject to be misused by the groups and governments that utilize it. What's more, the differing values and opinions of each individual can make it difficult to come to a consensus about where to draw the line with its use. But, with the evidence that was given, one can see that censorship is not entirely evil.