Censorship and Freedom of Speech

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 3
Words: 859
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: School

The main idea of ​​censorship is the recognition of the right of the state to restrict the dissemination of information that the state considers harmful or undesirable. Censorship is a form of restriction of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, television, and other media, due to legislatively approved norms for protecting the interests of the state, society, and public institutions. In the conditions of the modern information society, the true realization of freedom of speech is possible only with access to the media. In this regard, an effective guarantee of freedom of speech in the world is the possibility of free creation of mass media and the inadmissibility of censorship in the dissemination of mass media.

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By introducing various forms of censorship, state bodies, as a rule, motivate this kind of decision with considerations of state security, the need to combat manifestations of extremism, the spread of harmful ideas, and counteract the moral decay of society. On the other hand, censorship does not really solve social problems, but only helps to hide their existence. In addition, with an increase in the number of authors and the presence of the Internet, censorship becomes simply impossible (Murat, 2018). Calls for the introduction of censorship are often a sign of the impotence of state and public organizations in solving certain social problems.

Nowadays, censorship in different countries covers more and more areas. Mass media in general and specific journalists are under pressure. Some manifestations of dissent and simply works of art that do not correspond to official canons, as well as participants in ceremonies and exhibitions on topics objectionable to the authorities, are becoming endangered (Kuang, 2018). Writers, artists, cinematographers, and cultural workers are not free from the biased attention of the state.

Censorship of the mass media or the requirement for organizations, institutions, or public associations to pre-approve messages and materials is not acceptable from the point of view of free speech. Freedom of speech is not only a progressive institution of public control but also a guarantee of finding effective ways to modernize public life. The desire of certain elite structures to maintain their own dominance leads to the suppression of the opposition through unfair restrictions on freedom of speech and the growth of social protest moods in response to totalitarian media politics (Hill, 2020). In the context of the rigidity of media policy and the intensification of censorship, there is always a stagnation in terms of the scientific, technical and cultural development of society.

Freedom of speech is one of the traditional values and therefore is extremely important for the functioning of the rule of law. The political nature of freedom of speech in the context of digital transformation is complemented by technological and economic components. Reflecting the importance of information products for the post-industrial economy, they create an inextricable relationship between the freedom of information dissemination and economic performance.

Modern methods of censorship and propaganda differ significantly in form from those of its manifestations that were widespread in the past, but their impact on comprehensive security in the world community remains invariably negative. The use of political manipulative techniques, such as creating the image of an enemy and deliberately distorting the current agenda, create tension in the international system and impede the achievement of international peace and stability.

Since society never forms an intellectual unity and cannot express itself in any one idea, each of its members retains its individuality, its own understanding of certain problems. To make the expression of human individuality and uniqueness commonly available, the freedom of speech is an essential factor. Freedom of speech allows a person to openly express thoughts, desires, and attitudes about certain factors of politics and social order without the risk of censorship, threat to a person’s freedom or life. To allow freedom of speech, there must be a distinction between the message of statements. One group may be threatening statements regarding the call to extremism, terrorism, or other threatening actions. Another group may separate statements relating to reasonable criticism or dissent, which should be permissible in a democratic socio-political system.

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Any forcible influence on a person in order to force him to express his position or renounce it is unacceptable. Consequently, among the most important legal consequences of freedom of speech is the illegality of any persecution of a resident for the thoughts, subject to compliance with current legislation. Additionally, the inadmissibility of discrimination against residents on the grounds of their opinions should be considered within the topic of the freedom of speech.

In conclusion, freedom of speech includes several structural elements that are closely interconnected and exist in an inseparable unity. Freedom of speech for any person should include the possibility to express their own thoughts and opinions. Secondly, the freedom of the press and other mass media as freedom from censorship and the right to create and use information bodies is important, as it makes it possible to materialize freedom of expression. The right to receive information of public interest is the right to freedom of access to sources of information. The authorities can introduce censorship for statements dangerous to society, but not for critical self-expression.

References

Hill, D. W. (2020). Communication as a moral vocation: Safe space and freedom of speech. The Sociological Review, 68(1), 3-16. Web.

Kuang, X. (2018). Central state vs. local levels of government: Understanding news media censorship in China. Chinese Political Science Review, 3(2), 154-171. Web.

Murat, A. (2018). News media consolidation and censorship in Turkey: From liberal ideals to corporatist realities. Mediterranean Quarterly, 29(3), 78-97. Web.