Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

On Censorship

Posted by C Moon on December 7, 2007

Censorship prohibits inappropriate information from reaching the public. Whatever the reason is, censorship is not justified since it is a mere excuse for enforcing the ideals of the authority on the mass. The negative aspect of censorship is easily seen from Aldous Huxleys Brave New World, Frederick Douglass autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Iris Changs Rape of Nanking.

In Brave New World, the society operates in an extremely systematical manner. People are educated as intended according to their social classes, ranging from Alpha, the highest, to Epsilon, the lowest. People are tuned to satisfy to their destined situation and people are censored not to know beyond what is fed to them, e.g., they are ignorant of the concept of pain. However, whether the system is actually providing the maximum amount of happiness or is merely trying to maintain the stability of the society is the issue. John, the protagonist who understands both pain and happiness, chooses pain over blind happiness.

Similarly, the African Americans who were enslaved during the early days of the USA were not allowed to access information. Frederick Douglass wrote about how the slave owners and the Whites restricted the slaves from learning about their situation in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. The White slave owners intentionally took human rights away from the slaves. They did not teach the slaves how to read or write, and they also isolated the black infants from their mothers before they could even form a sense of attachment. Slaves were raised to know neither family nor love. Even Frederick Douglass, who was able to learn about human rights and eventually won his own freedom, recounted that he was not affected at all when he heard that his mother passed away. Prohibiting the slaves from forming any relation with another, the slave owners were able to control the African Americans for decades.

In Rape of Nanking, Iris Chang reports the long-concealed holocaust, which was on par with the Holocaust in both magnitude and cruelty. Despite Nanking citizens having opened up the gate without any resistance, Japan ordered its soldiers to Kill All the Captives. While strictly restricting the access of foreigners and reporters to the city, Japanese soldiers slaughtered and raped the citizens. Only after cleaning up certain districts and roads of the city, foreigners were allowed to tour designated areas. While the corpses were decomposing on one side of the city, surviving citizens on the other side were forced to cheer for the Japanese troops. Japanese military effectively manipulated the media and only favorable scenes were allowed to be published. Not only foreigners but also common Japanese were not aware of the massacre by the end of the war.

Censorship enables the authority to abuse and manipulate the public, depriving it of free choice and will.

For more information about censorship, check out this interesting posting about censorship, featuring the history and arguments of both side.

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Photo Credits: “control” by sacrifice_87 on Flickr

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