Censorship is necessary to protect the public
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Monday 26th March 2001 "Censorship is necessary to protect the public." How far do you agree with this view? Censorship is the term used to describe the editing of the media to control public access to whole or specific media texts. A view held by some is that the media has a strong influence on people, and in some cases is responsible for the drastic actions of some individuals, for example the murder of toddler James Bulger by two young boys. Generally, proponents of this view believe in the most stringent censorship. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the liberal opinion is that the public have a right to choose themselves whether they personally are exposed to certain media material or not. Effectively, this means no censorship at all. In recent years when prices have descended, multimedia technology has advanced daily and disposable incomes have risen; video recorders and access to the internet are increasingly to be found in the homes of the public. This has led to an increase in availability, through various circumstances, of controversial materials which contain elements such as violence, racism and pornography. With the internet in particular, it is challenging to control who is exposed to it, exactly what people are being exposed to and the serious consequences it may be having.
The watershed is a good idea but has to be implemented by parents; unfortunately, some parents are not responsible enough to do this. Although children mature at varying rates it is obvious that measures such as film classification do not reflect this, for example, some thirteen-year-olds are more mature than some fifteen-year-olds yet will not be able to view films with a fifteen certificate. It does seem bizarre that in the eyes of the law, a child is not judged mature enough to watch a twelve certificate film until the day of their twelfth birthday. However, it seems to be the fairest method. If this system was not in place then parents would have to decide what was suitable viewing for their child; and ignorance or irresponsibility may lead to them making bad decisions, as well as the fact that it is not always practical for a parent to veto videos or films if, for example, their offspring is at a friend's house. Although some children may have access to videos which contain such things as violence and drug taking, at least parents know that because of their age certificate they will be inappropriate.
Many people therefore believe that the channel has exploited their practice of self-regulation. It seems that overall, regulation of this type would be effective if employed correctly, but it should be monitored by outside bodies. Consequently, this would not technically be self-regulation. To summarize, it seems that censorship is certainly necessary, somewhere between the two very distant extremes of total censorship and absolute freedom, for the protection of mankind. However, as discussed, practicing censorship is not an easy task because the world is presently comprised of six billion, one hundred and thirty seven million, six hundred and sixty thousand, three hundred and nine* individuals with varying needs, maturity and religious and moral beliefs. Therefore, censorship is not ideal for any one person; so a compromise has to be reached to ensure that it fits in to a certain extent with everyone. Unless the inhabitants of the world all become cloned versions of each other, this will never change. Taking this into account, the present censorship generally seems to be the most accurate and fair it can be under the circumstances; although because censorship covers such a wide range of media, there are some small discrepancies on both sides of the spectrum. * According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Bureau of the Census, projected to 29/3/01 at 17:53:55 GMT.
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