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Censorship in the media is not necessary.
Censorship refers to ways of regulating and controlling the media that involve preventing
and removing material from reaching it audiences or restricting the audience being reached.
Censorship can take two forms: Formal censorship where regulation takes places through
official bodies such as the government. Government censorship includes the Us of Official
Secrets Act and DA notices to prevent the reporting of certain events on the ground that it
could damage national security. Censorship can also be bought by the decisions and
judgement of media professionals. This is known as `self-censorship'. Censorship is
supported on the ground that it protects vulnerable citizens of the society. Others disagree,
believing that individuals should be free to decide what they read, see or talk about.
Firstly, censorship in the media infringes freedom of choice. Censorship should not be
imposed on citizens by the government or other agencies; adults have a right to view or
listen to what they choose. Along with the freedom of expression, people have the right to
know. In politics, the masses can demand transparency. During times of economic crisis and
war, everyone must be given the chance to learn the truth.
Sociologists use the concept The uses and gratifications approach to explain why
censorship is unnecessary. The concept stresses that different people use the media in
different ways in order to obtain different sorts of pleasure or meet different sorts of needs.
Dennis McQuail (1972) suggests there are the following types of uses and gratifications
available from the media: Diversion which is an escape from routine; Personal relationships
where audience feel a part of a soap opera community; Personal identity which confirms or
weakens the sense of who we are by using certain media messages; and surveillance where you
find out what is going on. Therefore media censorship is not necessary since Individuals are
viewed as active interpreters and choice-makers, rather than as passive receivers of media
However, Eysenck and Nias (1978) argued that that media messages may enable individuals
to express and discharge powerful emotions safely, a process called catharsis, and thus
prevent behaviours that might otherwise have prevent happened. The concept of catharsis
confirms that the media can have a direct effect but it challenges the fears that are founded
on such theories. This suggests that the media regulation by the government is needed in
order to protect the society from harmful people.
Secondly, censorship is pointless today because nowadays people can travel to other
countries and discuss ideas or read materials unavailable in their own country. It is also
impossible to block material on satellite or on the internet. A contemporary example would
be Wikileaks in April 2011 leaked files related to the Guantanamo prison. The massive leak
revealed secret dossiers on 759 captives held at notorious US detention center in Cuba. The
website was impossible to block or be taken off. However, Wikileaks can also been seen as
an example of why government censorship takes place. Confidential files by government
official published means rival countries can get hold of important files that can be misused or
threaten the country.
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Thirdly, Restriction of information is all about establishing control according to Marxists.
Those in charge want the status quo to remain. However, that goes against the democratic
ideal. The right for everyone to speak and disagree is all important. It's better to have
knowledgeable people disagreeing than agreeing blindly without knowing the facts. Media
literacy is a concept introduced by Buckingham (1993). He states that a degree of
knowledge and understanding of the media affects the depth of people interpretation of the