Censorship

Last updated

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". [1] [2] [3] Censorship can be conducted by a government [4] or private institution [5] (such as in corporate censorship).

Corporate censorship is censorship by corporations. It is when a spokesperson, employer, or business associate sanctions a speaker's speech by threat of monetary loss, employment loss, or loss of access to the marketplace. It is present in many different kinds of industries.

Contents

Governments [4] and private organizations may engage in censorship. Other groups or institutions may propose and petition for censorship. [5] When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is referred to as self-censorship . It occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable groups, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.

Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own discourse. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. Self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media.

National security defense and maintenance of a state through use of all powers at the states disposal

National security refers to the security of a nation state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, and is regarded as a duty of government.

An obscenity is any utterance or act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. It is derived from the Latin obscaena (offstage) a cognate of the Ancient Greek root skene, because some potentially offensive content, such as murder or sex, was depicted offstage in classical drama. The word can be used to indicate a strong moral repugnance, in expressions such as "obscene profits" or "the obscenity of war". As a legal term, it usually refers to graphic depictions of people engaged in sexual and excretory activity.

Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov.jpg
The Commissar Vanishes 2.jpg
Nikolai Yezhov, the man strolling to Joseph Stalin's left, was executed in 1940. Because of Censorship in the Soviet Union the soviet censors edited him out of the photo. [6] Such retouching occurred commonly during Stalin's rule.
Book burning in Chile following the 1973 coup that installed the Pinochet regime. Chile quema libros 1973.JPG
Book burning in Chile following the 1973 coup that installed the Pinochet regime.

Direct censorship may or may not be legal, depending on the type, location, and content. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and frequently a claim of necessity to balance conflicting rights is made, in order to determine what could and could not be censored. There are no laws against self-censorship.

History

Chinese troops destroyed the statue Goddess of Democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and continue to censor information about those events. This statue, now known as the Victims of Communism Memorial, was recreated by Thomas Marsh in Washington, DC. Victims of Communism Memorial DBKing A.jpg
Chinese troops destroyed the statue Goddess of Democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and continue to censor information about those events. This statue, now known as the Victims of Communism Memorial, was recreated by Thomas Marsh in Washington, DC.

In 399 BC, Greek philosopher, Socrates, defied attempts by the Greek state to censor his philosophical teachings and was sentenced to death by drinking a poison, hemlock. Socrates' student, Plato, is said to have advocated censorship in his essay on The Republic , which opposed the existence of democracy. In contrast to Plato, Greek playwright Euripides (480–406 BC) defended the true liberty of freeborn men, including the right to speak freely. In 1766, Sweden became the first country to abolish censorship by law. [8]

Socrates classical Greek Athenian philosopher

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher, of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the only source to have written during his lifetime.

<i>Conium</i> genus of plants

Conium is a genus of flowering plants in the carrot family Apiaceae which consists of four species accepted by The Plant List. One species, C. maculatum, also called hemlock, which is highly poisonous, is native to temperate regions of Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, while the other three are from southern Africa.

Plato Classical Greek philosopher

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece and the founder of the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."

Rationale

The rationale for censorship is different for various types of information censored:

Child pornography is pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. It may be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child or it may be simulated child pornography. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts or lascivious exhibitions of genitals or pubic areas which are recorded in the production of child pornography. Child pornography may use a variety of media, including writings, magazines, photos, sculpture, drawing, cartoon, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games.

Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are then incorporated into intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.

Military tactics science and art of organizing a military force and techniques

Military tactics encompasses the art of organising and employing fighting forces on or near the battlefield. They involve the application of four battlefield functions which are closely related – kinetic or firepower, mobility, protection or security, and shock action. Tactics are a separate function from command and control and logistics. In contemporary military science, tactics are the lowest of three levels of warfighting, the higher levels being the strategic and operational levels. Throughout history, there has been a shifting balance between the four tactical functions, generally based on the application of military technology, which has led to one or more of the tactical functions being dominant for a period of time, usually accompanied by the dominance of an associated fighting arm deployed on the battlefield, such as infantry, artillery, cavalry or tanks.

Types

Political

Strict censorship existed in the Eastern Bloc. [14] Throughout the bloc, the various ministries of culture held a tight rein on their writers. [15] Cultural products there reflected the propaganda needs of the state. [15] Party-approved censors exercised strict control in the early years. [16] In the Stalinist period, even the weather forecasts were changed if they suggested that the sun might not shine on May Day. [16] Under Nicolae Ceauşescu in Romania, weather reports were doctored so that the temperatures were not seen to rise above or fall below the levels which dictated that work must stop. [16]

May Day an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday

May Day is a public holiday usually celebrated on 1 May. It is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. Dances, singing, and cake are usually part of the festivities. In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. International Workers' Day can also be referred to as "May Day", but it is a different celebration from the traditional May Day.

Independent journalism did not exist in the Soviet Union until Mikhail Gorbachev became its leader; all reporting was directed by the Communist Party or related organizations. Pravda, the predominant newspaper in the Soviet Union, had a monopoly. Foreign newspapers were available only if they were published by Communist Parties sympathetic to the Soviet Union.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk.

Mikhail Gorbachev 20th-century General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a Russian and formerly Soviet politician. The seventh and last leader of the Soviet Union, he was General Secretary of the governing Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. He was the country's head of state from 1988 until 1991, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1988 to 1989, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 1989 to 1990, and President of the Soviet Union from 1990 to 1991. Ideologically a socialist, he initially adhered to Marxism-Leninism although following the Soviet collapse moved toward social democracy.

<i>Pravda</i> Russian newspaper

Pravda is a Russian broadsheet newspaper, formerly the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, when it was one of the most influential papers in the country with a circulation of 11 million. The newspaper began publication on 5 May 1912 in the Russian Empire, but was already extant abroad in January 1911. It emerged as a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union after the October Revolution. The newspaper was an organ of the Central Committee of the CPSU between 1912 and 1991.

Possession and use of copying machines was tightly controlled in order to hinder production and distribution of samizdat, illegal self-published books and magazines. Possession of even a single samizdat manuscript such as a book by Andrei Sinyavsky was a serious crime which might involve a visit from the KGB. Another outlet for works which did not find favor with the authorities was publishing abroad.

The People's Republic of China employs sophisticated censorship mechanisms, referred to as the Golden Shield Project, to monitor the internet. Popular search engines such as Baidu also remove politically sensitive search results. [17] [18] [19]

Iraq under Baathist Saddam Hussein had much the same techniques of press censorship as did Romania under Nicolae Ceauşescu but with greater potential violence.[ citation needed ]

Cuban media used to be operated under the supervision of the Communist Party's Department of Revolutionary Orientation, which "develops and coordinates propaganda strategies". [20] Connection to the Internet is restricted and censored. [21]

Censorship also takes place in capitalist nations, such as Uruguay. In 1973, a military coup took power in Uruguay, and the State practiced censorship. For example, writer Eduardo Galeano was imprisoned and later was forced to flee. His book Open Veins of Latin America was banned by the right-wing military government, not only in Uruguay, but also in Chile and Argentina. [22]

In the United States, censorship occurs through books, film festivals, politics, and public schools. [23] See banned books for more information. Additionally, critics of campaign finance reform in the United States say this reform imposes widespread restrictions on political speech. [24] [25]

Canada

Singapore

In the Republic of Singapore, Section 33 of the Films Act originally banned the making, distribution and exhibition of "party political films", at pain of a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years. The Act further defines a "party political film" as any film or video

(a) which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or
(b) which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore

In 2001, the short documentary called A Vision of Persistence on opposition politician J. B. Jeyaretnam was also banned for being a "party political film". The makers of the documentary, all lecturers at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, later submitted written apologies and withdrew the documentary from being screened at the 2001 Singapore International Film Festival in April, having been told they could be charged in court. Another short documentary called Singapore Rebel by Martyn See, which documented Singapore Democratic Party leader Dr Chee Soon Juan's acts of civil disobedience, was banned from the 2005 Singapore International Film Festival on the same grounds and See is being investigated for possible violations of the Films Act.

This law, however, is often disregarded when such political films are made supporting the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). Channel NewsAsia's five-part documentary series on Singapore's PAP ministers in 2005, for example, was not considered a party political film.

Exceptions are also made when political films are made concerning political parties of other nations. Films such as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 are thus allowed to screen regardless of the law.

Since March 2009, the Films Act has been amended to allow party political films as long as they were deemed factual and objective by a consultative committee. Some months later, this committee lifted the ban on Singapore Rebel.

Turkey

Online access to all language versions of Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey on 29 April 2017 by Erdoğan's government. [26]

United Kingdom

United States

Soviet Union

China

North Korea

Cuba

Iran

Serbia

According to Christian Mihr, executive director of Reporters Without Borders, "censorship in Serbia is neither direct nor transparent, but is easy to prove." [27] According to Mihr there are numerous examples of censorship and self-censorship in Serbia [28] According to Mihr, Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić has proved "very sensitive to criticism, even on critical questions," as was the case with Natalija Miletic, correspondent for Deutsche Welle Radio, who questioned him in Berlin about the media situation in Serbia and about allegations that some ministers in the Serbian government had plagiarized their diplomas, and who later received threats and offensive articles on the Serbian press. [28]

Multiple news outlets have accused Vučić of anti-democratic strongman tendencies. [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] In July 2014, journalists associations were concerned about the freedom of the media in Serbia, in which Vučić came under criticism. [34] [35]

In September 2015 five members of United States Congress (Edie Bernice Johnson, Carlos Curbelo, Scott Perry, Adam Kinzinger, and Zoe Lofgren) have informed Vice President of the United States Joseph Biden that Aleksandar's brother, Andrej Vučić, is leading a group responsible for deteriorating media freedom in Serbia. [36]

State secrets and prevention of attention

Wieczór Wrocławia – Daily newspaper of Wrocław, People's Republic of Poland, March 20–21, 1981, with censor intervention on first and last pages—under the headlines "Co zdarzyło się w Bydgoszczy?" (What happened in Bydgoszcz?) and "Pogotowie strajkowe w całym kraju" (Country-wide strike alert). The censor had removed a section regarding the strike alert; hence the workers in the printing house blanked out an official propaganda section. The right-hand page also includes a hand-written confirmation of that decision by the local "Solidarność" Trade Union. WieczorWroclawia20marca1981.jpg
Wieczór Wrocławia – Daily newspaper of Wrocław, People's Republic of Poland, March 20–21, 1981, with censor intervention on first and last pages—under the headlines "Co zdarzyło się w Bydgoszczy?" (What happened in Bydgoszcz?) and "Pogotowie strajkowe w całym kraju" (Country-wide strike alert). The censor had removed a section regarding the strike alert; hence the workers in the printing house blanked out an official propaganda section. The right-hand page also includes a hand-written confirmation of that decision by the local "Solidarność" Trade Union.

In wartime, explicit censorship is carried out with the intent of preventing the release of information that might be useful to an enemy. Typically it involves keeping times or locations secret, or delaying the release of information (e.g., an operational objective) until it is of no possible use to enemy forces. The moral issues here are often seen as somewhat different, as the proponents of this form of censorship argues that release of tactical information usually presents a greater risk of casualties among one's own forces and could possibly lead to loss of the overall conflict.

During World War I letters written by British soldiers would have to go through censorship. This consisted of officers going through letters with a black marker and crossing out anything which might compromise operational secrecy before the letter was sent. The World War II catchphrase "Loose lips sink ships" was used as a common justification to exercise official wartime censorship and encourage individual restraint when sharing potentially sensitive information.

An example of "sanitization" policies comes from the USSR under Joseph Stalin, where publicly used photographs were often altered to remove people whom Stalin had condemned to execution. Though past photographs may have been remembered or kept, this deliberate and systematic alteration to all of history in the public mind is seen as one of the central themes of Stalinism and totalitarianism.

Censorship is occasionally carried out to aid authorities or to protect an individual, as with some kidnappings when attention and media coverage of the victim can sometimes be seen as unhelpful. [37] [38]

Religion

Censorship by religion is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion. This form of censorship has a long history and is practiced in many societies and by many religions. Examples include the Galileo affair, Edict of Compiègne, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of prohibited books) and the condemnation of Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Images of the Islamic figure Muhammad are also regularly censored. In some secular countries, this is sometimes done to prevent hurting religious sentiments. [39]

Educational sources

Historic Russian censorship. Book Notes of my life by N.I. Grech, published in St. Petersburg 1886 by A.S. Suvorin. The censored text was replaced by dots. Grech old russian censorship.jpg
Historic Russian censorship. Book Notes of my life by N.I. Grech , published in St. Petersburg 1886 by A.S. Suvorin. The censored text was replaced by dots.

The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, since their target audience is young people, and the term "whitewashing" is the one commonly used to refer to removal of critical or conflicting events. The reporting of military atrocities in history is extremely controversial, as in the case of The Holocaust (or Holocaust denial), Bombing of Dresden, the Nanking Massacre as found with Japanese history textbook controversies, the Armenian Genocide, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and the Winter Soldier Investigation of the Vietnam War.

In the context of secondary school education, the way facts and history are presented greatly influences the interpretation of contemporary thought, opinion and socialization. One argument for censoring the type of information disseminated is based on the inappropriate quality of such material for the young. The use of the "inappropriate" distinction is in itself controversial, as it changed heavily. A Ballantine Books version of the book Fahrenheit 451 which is the version used by most school classes [40] contained approximately 75 separate edits, omissions, and changes from the original Bradbury manuscript.

In February 2006 a National Geographic cover was censored by the Nashravaran Journalistic Institute. The offending cover was about the subject of love and a picture of an embracing couple was hidden beneath a white sticker. [41] [41]

Copy, picture, and writer approval

Copy approval is the right to read and amend an article, usually an interview, before publication. Many publications refuse to give copy approval but it is increasingly becoming common practice when dealing with publicity anxious celebrities. [42] Picture approval is the right given to an individual to choose which photos will be published and which will not. Robert Redford is well known for insisting upon picture approval. [43] Writer approval is when writers are chosen based on whether they will write flattering articles or not. Hollywood publicist Pat Kingsley is known for banning certain writers who wrote undesirably about one of her clients from interviewing any of her other clients.[ citation needed ]

Self-censorship

Author Ozzie Zehner self-censored the American edition of his environmental book, Green Illusions, due to food libel laws that enable the food industry to sue researchers who criticize their products. Censored section of Green Illusions by Ozzie Zehner.jpg
Author Ozzie Zehner self-censored the American edition of his environmental book, Green Illusions, due to food libel laws that enable the food industry to sue researchers who criticize their products.

Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own blog, book, film, or other forms of media. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. Self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media. [45]

According to a Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review survey, "About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices." [46]

Threats to media freedom have shown a significant increase in Europe in recent years, according to a study published in April 2017 by the Council of Europe. This results in a fear of physical or psychological violence, and the ultimate result is self-censorship by journalists. [47]

By media

Books

Nazi book burning in Berlin, May 1933. 1933-may-10-berlin-book-burning.JPG
Nazi book burning in Berlin, May 1933.

Book censorship can be enacted at the national or sub-national level, and can carry legal penalties for their infraction. Books may also be challenged at a local, community level. As a result, books can be removed from schools or libraries, although these bans do not extend outside of that area.

Films

Aside from the usual justifications of pornography and obscenity, some films are censored due to changing racial attitudes or political correctness in order to avoid ethnic stereotyping and/or ethnic offense despite its historical or artistic value. One example is the still withdrawn "Censored Eleven" series of animated cartoons, which may have been innocent then, but are "incorrect" now.

Film censorship is carried out by various countries to differing degrees. For example, only 34 foreign films a year are approved for official distribution in China's strictly controlled film market. [48]

Music

Music censorship has been implemented by states, religions, educational systems, families, retailers and lobbying groups – and in most cases they violate international conventions of human rights. [49]

Maps

Censorship of maps is often employed for military purposes. For example, the technique was used in former East Germany, especially for the areas near the border to West Germany in order to make attempts of defection more difficult. Censorship of maps is also applied by Google Maps, where certain areas are grayed out or blacked or areas are purposely left outdated with old imagery. [50]

Individual words

Under subsection 48(3) and (4) of the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims in Malaysia are penalized for using the following words, or to write or publish them, in any form, version or translation in any language or for use in any publicity material in any medium: "Allah", "Firman Allah", "Ulama", "Hadith", "Ibadah", "Kaabah", "Qadhi'", "Illahi", "Wahyu", "Mubaligh", "Syariah", "Qiblat", "Haji", "Mufti", "Rasul", "Iman", "Dakwah", "Wali", "Fatwa", "Imam", "Nabi", "Sheikh", "Khutbah", "Tabligh", "Akhirat", "Azan", "Al Quran", "As Sunnah", "Auliya'", "Karamah", "False Moon God", "Syahadah", "Baitullah", "Musolla", "Zakat Fitrah", "Hajjah", "Taqwa" and "Soleh". [51] [52] [53]

Publishers of the Spanish reference dictionary Real Acádemia Española received petitions to censor the entries "Jewishness", "Gypsiness", "black work" and "weak sex", claiming that they are either offensive or non-PC. [54]

One elementary school's obscenity filter changed every reference to the word "tit" to "breast," so when a child typed "U.S. Constitution" into the school computer, it changed it to Consbreastution. [55]

Art

British photographer and visual artist Graham Ovenden's photos and paintings were ordered to be destroyed by a London's magistrate court in 2015 for being "indecent" [56] and their copies had been removed from the online Tate gallery. [57]

Artworks using these four colors were banned by Israeli law in the 1980s Flag of Palestine.svg
Artworks using these four colors were banned by Israeli law in the 1980s

A 1980 Israeli law forbade banned artwork composed of the four colours of the Palestinian flag, [58] and Palestinians were arrested for displaying such artwork or even for carrying sliced melons with the same pattern. [59] [60] [61]

Internet

Internet censorship and surveillance by country (2018)
Pervasive
Substantial
Selective
Little or no
Not classified / No data Internet Censorship and Surveillance World Map.svg
Internet censorship and surveillance by country (2018)

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations either at the behest of government or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship on their own or due to intimidation and fear.

The issues associated with Internet censorship are similar to those for offline censorship of more traditional media. One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. Thus censors must work to prevent access to information even though they lack physical or legal control over the websites themselves. This in turn requires the use of technical censorship methods that are unique to the Internet, such as site blocking and content filtering. [67]

Unless the censor has total control over all Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea or Cuba, total censorship of information is very difficult or impossible to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) protect free speech using technologies that guarantee material cannot be removed and prevents the identification of authors. Technologically savvy users can often find ways to access blocked content. Nevertheless, blocking remains an effective means of limiting access to sensitive information for most users when censors, such as those in China, are able to devote significant resources to building and maintaining a comprehensive censorship system. [67]

Views about the feasibility and effectiveness of Internet censorship have evolved in parallel with the development of the Internet and censorship technologies:

A BBC World Service poll of 27,973 adults in 26 countries, including 14,306 Internet users, [71] was conducted between 30 November 2009 and 7 February 2010. The head of the polling organization felt, overall, that the poll showed that:

Despite worries about privacy and fraud, people around the world see access to the internet as their fundamental right. They think the web is a force for good, and most don’t want governments to regulate it. [72]

The poll found that nearly four in five (78%) Internet users felt that the Internet had brought them greater freedom, that most Internet users (53%) felt that "the internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere", and almost four in five Internet users and non-users around the world felt that access to the Internet was a fundamental right (50% strongly agreed, 29% somewhat agreed, 9% somewhat disagreed, 6% strongly disagreed, and 6% gave no opinion). [73]

Social media

The rising usages of social media in many nations has led to the emergence of citizens organizing protests through social media, sometimes called "Twitter Revolutions". The most notable of these social media led protests were parts Arab Spring uprisings, starting in 2010. In response to the use of social media in these protests, the Tunisian government began a hack of Tunisian citizens' Facebook accounts, and reports arose of accounts being deleted. [74]

Automated systems can be used to censor social media posts, and therefore limit what citizens can say online. This most notably occurs in China, where social media posts are automatically censored depending on content. In 2013, Harvard political science professor Gary King led a study to determine what caused social media posts to be censored and found that posts mentioning the government were not more or less likely to be deleted if they were supportive or critical of the government. Posts mentioning collective action were more likely to be deleted than those that had not mentioned collective action. [75] Currently, social media censorship appears primarily as a way to restrict Internet users' ability to organize protests. For the Chinese government, seeing citizens unhappy with local governance is beneficial as state and national leaders can replace unpopular officials. King and his researchers were able to predict when certain officials would be removed based on the number of unfavorable social media posts. [76]

Research has proved that criticism is tolerable on social media sites, therefore it is not censored unless it has a higher chance of collective action. It isn't important whether the criticism is supportive or unsupportive of the states' leaders, the main priority of censoring certain social media posts is to make sure that no big actions are being made due to something that was said on the internet. Posts that challenge the Party's political leading role in the Chinese government are more likely to be censored due to the challenges it poses to the Chinese Communist Party. [77]

This represents how different types of social media are censored based on what is appropriate to share with the public. Social Media Censorship.jpg
This represents how different types of social media are censored based on what is appropriate to share with the public.

Video games

Since the early 1980s, advocates of video games have emphasized their use as an expressive medium, arguing for their protection under the laws governing freedom of speech and also as an educational tool. Detractors argue that video games are harmful and therefore should be subject to legislative oversight and restrictions. Many video games have certain elements removed or edited due to regional rating standards. [78] [79] For example, in the Japanese and PAL Versions of No More Heroes , blood splatter and gore is removed from the gameplay. Decapitation scenes are implied, but not shown. Scenes of missing body parts after having been cut off, are replaced with the same scene, but showing the body parts fully intact. [80]

Surveillance as an aid

Surveillance and censorship are different. Surveillance can be performed without censorship, but it is harder to engage in censorship without some form of surveillance. [81] And even when surveillance does not lead directly to censorship, the widespread knowledge or belief that a person, their computer, or their use of the Internet is under surveillance can lead to self-censorship. [82]

Protection of sources is no longer just a matter of journalistic ethics; it increasingly also depends on the journalist's computer skills and all journalists should equip themselves with a "digital survival kit" if they are exchanging sensitive information online or storing it on a computer or mobile phone. [83] [84] And individuals associated with high-profile rights organizations, dissident, protest, or reform groups are urged to take extra precautions to protect their online identities. [85]

Implementation

Censored pre-press proof of two articles from "Notícias da Amadora", a Portuguese newspaper, 1970 Censuraindex.jpg
Censored pre-press proof of two articles from "Notícias da Amadora", a Portuguese newspaper, 1970

The former Soviet Union maintained a particularly extensive program of state-imposed censorship. The main organ for official censorship in the Soviet Union was the Chief Agency for Protection of Military and State Secrets generally known as the Glavlit , its Russian acronym. The Glavlit handled censorship matters arising from domestic writings of just about any kind—even beer and vodka labels. Glavlit censorship personnel were present in every large Soviet publishing house or newspaper; the agency employed some 70,000 censors to review information before it was disseminated by publishing houses, editorial offices, and broadcasting studios. No mass medium escaped Glavlit's control. All press agencies and radio and television stations had Glavlit representatives on their editorial staffs.[ citation needed ]

Sometimes, public knowledge of the existence of a specific document is subtly suppressed, a situation resembling censorship. The authorities taking such action will justify it by declaring the work to be "subversive" or "inconvenient". An example is Michel Foucault's 1978 text Sexual Morality and the Law (later republished as The Danger of Child Sexuality), originally published as La loi de la pudeur[literally, "the law of decency"]. This work defends the decriminalization of statutory rape and the abolition of age of consent laws.[ citation needed ]

When a publisher comes under pressure to suppress a book, but has already entered into a contract with the author, they will sometimes effectively censor the book by deliberately ordering a small print run and making minimal, if any, attempts to publicize it. This practice became known in the early 2000s as privishing (private publishing). [86]

Criticism

Artistic allegory of communist press censorship, 1989 2014 Cenzura.jpg
Artistic allegory of communist press censorship, 1989

Censorship has been criticized throughout history for being unfair and hindering progress. In a 1997 essay on Internet censorship, social commentator Michael Landier claims that censorship is counterproductive as it prevents the censored topic from being discussed. Landier expands his argument by claiming that those who impose censorship must consider what they censor to be true, as individuals believing themselves to be correct would welcome the opportunity to disprove those with opposing views. [87]

Censorship is often used to impose moral values on society, as in the censorship of material considered obscene. English novelist E. M. Forster was a staunch opponent of censoring material on the grounds that it was obscene or immoral, raising the issue of moral subjectivity and the constant changing of moral values. When the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover was put on trial in 1960, Forster wrote: [88]

Lady Chatterley's Lover is a literary work of importance...I do not think that it could be held obscene, but am in a difficulty here, for the reason that I have never been able to follow the legal definition of obscenity. The law tells me that obscenity may deprave and corrupt, but as far as I know, it offers no definition of depravity or corruption.

By country

Censorship by country collects information on censorship, internet censorship, press freedom, freedom of speech, and human rights by country and presents it in a sortable table, together with links to articles with more information. In addition to countries, the table includes information on former countries, disputed countries, political sub-units within countries, and regional organizations.

See also

Related articles

Freedoms

Related Research Articles

Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the principle that communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state; its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.

Internet censorship in China is among the most extensive censorship in the world due to a wide variety of legal and administrative regulations. More than sixty internet restrictions have been created by the Government of China, which have been implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISP, companies, and organizations. According to CNN, the apparatus of China's internet control is considered more extensive and advanced than any other country in the world. The government authorities not only block website content but also monitor internet access of individuals. Such measures have attracted the derisive nickname "The Great Firewall of China."

The Great Firewall of China (GFW) is the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People's Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically. Its role in the Internet censorship in China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic. The effect includes: limiting access to foreign information sources, blocking foreign internet tools and mobile apps, and requiring foreign companies to adapt to domestic regulations. Besides censorship, the GFW has also influenced the development of China's internal internet economy by nurturing domestic companies and reducing the effectiveness of products from foreign internet companies.

Censorship in Taiwan was greatly relaxed when the state moved away from authoritarianism in 1987. Since then, the media has generally been allowed to broadcast political opposition. Today, the focus of censorship is slander and libel, cross-Strait relations, and national security.

Censorship in South Korea is limited by laws that provide for freedom of speech and the press which the government generally respects in practice. Under the National Security Act, the government may limit the expression of ideas that praise or incite the activities of anti-state individuals or groups.

Political censorship exists when a government attempts to conceal, fake, distort, or falsify information that its citizens receive by suppressing or crowding out political news that the public might receive through news outlets. In the absence of neutral and objective information, people will be unable to dissent with the government or political party in charge. The term also extends to the systematic suppression of views that are contrary to those of the government in power. The government often possesses the power of the army and the secret police, to enforce the compliance of journalists with the will of the authorities to spread the story that the ruling authorities want people to believe. At times this involves bribery, defamation, imprisonment, and even assassination.

Censorship in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is implemented or mandated by the PRC's ruling party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). The government censors content for mainly political reasons, but also to maintain its control over the populace. The Chinese government asserts that it has the legal right to control the internet's content within their territory and that their censorship rules do not infringe on the citizen's right to free speech. Since Xi Jinping became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in 2012, censorship has been "significantly stepped up".

Censorship in Myanmar results from government policies in controlling and regulating certain information, particularly on religious, ethnic, political, and moral grounds.

Censorship in Turkey

Censorship in Turkey is regulated by domestic and international legislation, the latter taking precedence over domestic law, according to Article 90 of the Constitution of Turkey.

Multiple forms of media including books, newspapers, magazines, films, television, and content published on the Internet are censored in Saudi Arabia.

Internet censorship control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the internet

Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet enacted by regulators, or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.

Censorship in the United States involves the suppression of speech or public communication and raises issues of freedom of speech, which is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Interpretation of this fundamental freedom has varied since its enshrinement. For instance, restraints increased during the 1950s period of widespread anti-communist sentiment, as exemplified by the hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In Miller v. California (1973), the U.S. Supreme Court found that the First Amendment's freedom of speech does not apply to obscenity, which can therefore be censored. While certain forms of hate speech are legal so long as they do not turn to action, or incite others to commit illegal acts, more severe forms have led to people or groups being denied marching permits or the Westboro Baptist Church being sued, although the initial adverse ruling against the latter was later overturned on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court case Snyder v. Phelps.

Laws on censorship in Israel are based on British emergency regulations from 1945 that apply to domestic media, foreign newspapers and wire service transmissions from or through Israel.

Internet censorship in Singapore is carried out by the Media Development Authority (MDA). Internet services provided by the three major Internet service providers (ISPs) are subject to regulation by the MDA, which requires blocking of a symbolic number of websites containing "mass impact objectionable" material, including Playboy, YouPorn and Ashley Madison. The civil service, tertiary institutions and Institute of Technical Education has its own jurisdiction to block websites displaying pornography, information about drugs and online piracy.

Censorship in Brazil, both cultural and political, occurred throughout the whole period following the colonization of the country. Even though most state censorship ended just before the period of redemocratization that started in 1984, Brazil still experiences a small amount of non-official censorship today. The current legislation restricts freedom of expression concerning racism and the Constitution prohibits the anonymity of journalists.

Internet censorship and surveillance by country

This list of Internet censorship and surveillance by country provides information on the types and levels of Internet censorship and surveillance that is occurring in countries around the world.

Internet censorship in South Korea

Internet censorship in South Korea is similar to other developed countries but contains some unique elements such as the blocking of pro-North Korea websites, which led to it being categorized as "pervasive" in the conflict/security area by OpenNet Initiative. It is also unique among developed countries to block pornography and material considered harmful to minors as they are illegal by law. However, this law is very loosely applied with many pornography websites and nudity content still freely accessible. It also does not apply to social media websites, which is a common source of "legal" pornography in South Korea.

Media freedom in Serbia

Censorship in Serbia is prohibited by the Constitution. Freedom of expression and of information are protected by international and national law, even if the guarantees enshrined in the laws are not coherently implemented. Indeed, instances of censorship and self-censorship are still reported in the country. Serbia is deemed "partly free" by Freedom House and ranks 59th out of 180 countries in the 2016 Press Freedom Index report compiled by Reporters without borders, improving its ranking by eight places if compared to 2015. However, according to some experts, this improvement has been of purely statistical nature as it is due more to the worsening trend in the other countries comprised in the Index than on concrete improvements of the situation in Serbia. According to the 2015 Freedom House report, media outlets and journalists in Serbia are subject to pressure from politicians and owners over editorial contents. Also, Serbian media are heavily dependent on advertising contracts and government subsidies which make journalists and media outlets exposed to economic pressures, such as payment defaults, termination of contracts and the like.

References

  1. "censorship noun". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  2. "cen·sor·ship". ahdictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  3. "Definition of censorship in English:". oxforddictionaries.com. Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  4. 1 2 "censorship, n.", OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2018, retrieved 8 August 2018
  5. 1 2 https://www.aclu.org/other/what-censorship "What Is Censorship", ACLU
  6. The Commissar vanishes (The Newseum)
  7. Sui-Lee Wee; Ben Blanchard (June 4, 2012). "China blocks Tiananmen talk on crackdown anniversary". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  8. "The Long History of Censorship", Mette Newth, Beacon for Freedom of Expression (Norway), 2010
  9. "Child Pornography: Model Legislation & Global Review" (PDF) (5 ed.). International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  10. "World Congress against CSEC". Csecworldcongress.org. 2002-07-27. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  11. Timothy Jay (2000). Why We Curse: A Neuro-psycho-social Theory of Speech. John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 208–209. ISBN   978-1-55619-758-1.
  12. David Goldberg; Stefaan G. Verhulst; Tony Prosser (1998). Regulating the Changing Media: A Comparative Study. Oxford University Press. p. 207. ISBN   978-0-19-826781-2.
  13. McCullagh, Declan (2003-06-30). "Microsoft's new push in Washington". CNET. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  14. Major & Mitter 2004 , p. 6
  15. 1 2 Major & Mitter 2004 , p. 15
  16. 1 2 3 Crampton 1997 , p. 247
  17. "Baidu's Internal Monitoring and Censorship Document Leaked (1) (Updated) – China Digital Times (CDT)". China Digital Times (CDT).
  18. "Baidu's Internal Monitoring and Censorship Document Leaked (2) – China Digital Times (CDT)". China Digital Times (CDT).
  19. "Baidu's Internal Monitoring and Censorship Document Leaked (3) – China Digital Times (CDT)". China Digital Times (CDT).
  20. "10 most censored countries". The Committee to Protect Journalists.
  21. "Going online in Cuba: Internet under surveillance" (PDF). Reporters Without Borders. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-03.
  22. "Fresh Off Worldwide Attention for Joining Obama's Book Collection, Uruguayan Author Eduardo Galeano Returns with "Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone"". Democracynow.org. 28 May 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  23. "Books". National Coalition Against Censorship. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  24. "The Trick of Campaign Finance Reform". Christian Science Monitor.
  25. "Felonious Advocacy". reason.
  26. "Turkish authorities block Wikipedia without giving reason". BBC News. 29 April 2017.
  27. Censorship in Serbia is easy to prove - RWB, B92, 19/02/2015. Retrieved 12/10/2016
  28. 1 2 B92, 19/02/2015. Retrieved 12/10/2016
  29. Filipovic, Gordana (March 27, 2017). "How a Premier May Become a Strongman in Serbia: QuickTake Q&A". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  30. Nougayrède, Natalie (2018-04-11). "Beware the chameleon strongmen of Europe". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  31. Karnitschnig, Matthew (2016-04-14). "Serbia's latest would-be savior is a modernizer, a strongman — or both". Politico Europe. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  32. Janjevic, Darko (June 18, 2017). "EU and the Balkans: Brussels' favorite strongmen". DW. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  33. Anastasijevic, Dejan (April 4, 2017). "Serbia's Vucic stronger than ever". EU Observer. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  34. Die Tageszeitung:Die Pampigkeit des Herrn Vučić - In Serbien werden Internetseiten attackiert, Blogs gesperrt und Blogger festgenommen. Die Betroffenen berichteten wohl zu kritisch über die Regierung (German) - The stroppiness of Mr. Vučić - In Serbia being attacked websites, blocked blogs and arrested bloggers. The victims reported probably too critical about the government
  35. Die Tageszeitung:"Serbische Regierung zensiert Medien - Ein Virus namens Zensur", taz.de; accessed 9 December 2015.(in German)
  36. Čogradin, Snežana (4 November 2016). "What is Andrej Vučić occupation?". Danas.
  37. "New York Times".
  38. The Raw Story | Investigative News and Politics [ dead link ]
  39. "National Council Of Educational Research And Training :: Home (Page 105, Democratic Politics - Class 9)". ncert.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  40. Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Del Rey Books. April 1991.
  41. 1 2 Lundqvist, J. "More pictures of Iranian Censorship". Archived from the original on 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  42. Ian Mayes (2005-04-23). "The readers' editor on requests that are always refused". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  43. Barber, Lynn (2002-01-27). "Caution: big name ahead". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  44. Green Illusions: The Dirty Secrets of Clean Energy and the Future of Environmentalism, Ozzie Zehner, University of Nebraska Press, 2012, 464 pp, ISBN   978-0-8032-3775-9. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  45. CLARK, Marilyn; GRECH, Anna (2017). Journalism under pressure. Unwarranted interference, fear and self-censorship in Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe publishing. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  46. "Self Censorship: How Often and Why". Pew Research Center.
  47. "Journalists suffer violence, intimidation and self-censorship in Europe, says a Council of Europe study". Council of Europe. Newsroom. 20 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-05-11. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  48. "Why China is letting 'Django Unchained' slip through its censorship regime". Quartz. March 13, 2013.
  49. "What is Music Censorship?". Freemuse.org. 1 January 2001. Archived from the original on 6 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  50. Jenna Johnson (2007-07-22). "Google's View of D.C. Melds New and Sharp, Old and Fuzzy". News. Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-22.
  51. "Check law first, Karpal asks Penang government over decree banning 'Islamic words'". Malaysia Insider. Archived from the original on 2014-01-15.
  52. "Penang mufti outlaws 40 words to non-Muslims". New Straits Times. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-01-11.
  53. "browser – IE6 PAGE TITLE". mufti.penang.gov.my. Archived from the original on April 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
  54. ""Gitanada" y "judiada" pueden seguir en el nuevo Diccionario de la RAE". La Voz de Galicia. 12 December 2013.
  55. Dr. Ted Eisenberg and Joyce K. Eisenberg, ‘’The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths,’’ Incompra Press, 2012, ISBN   978-0-9857249-3-1
  56. "Paedophile artist's photographs and paintings 'must be destroyed'". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  57. "Graham Ovenden | Tate". 2015-10-16. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  58. Ashley, John; Jayousi, Nedal (December 2013). "The Connection between Palestinian Culture and the Conflict". Discourse, Culture, and Education in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (PDF). netanya.ac.il (Report). Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Israel Office. p. 55. Retrieved 21 May 2017. In 1980, Israel banned art exhibitions and paintings of “political significance”, with the grouping of the four colours of the Palestinian flag in any one painting also forbidden.
  59. Kifner, John (October 16, 1993). "Ramallah Journal; A Palestinian Version of the Judgment of Solomon". The New York Times. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  60. Dalrymple, William (October 2, 2002). "A culture under fire". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  61. "The watermelon makes a colourful interlude". The Age. Melbourne. September 12, 2004.
  62. "Freedom on the Net 2018" (PDF). Freedom House. November 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  63. OpenNet Initiative "Summarized global Internet filtering data spreadsheet", 8 November 2011 and "Country Profiles", the OpenNet Initiative is a collaborative partnership of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University; and the SecDev Group, Ottawa
  64. "Internet Enemies", Enemies of the Internet 2014: Entities at the heart of censorship and surveillance, Reporters Without Borders (Paris), 11 March 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  65. Internet Enemies, Reporters Without Borders (Paris), 12 March 2012 Archived March 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  66. Due to legal concerns the OpenNet Initiative does not check for filtering of child pornography and because their classifications focus on technical filtering, they do not include other types of censorship.
  67. 1 2 3 Freedom of Connection, Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet, Dutton, William H.; Dopatka, Anna; Law, Ginette; Nash, Victoria, Division for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris, 2011, 103 pp., ISBN   978-92-3-104188-4
  68. "First Nation in Cyberspace", Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Time, 6 December 1993, No. 49
  69. "Cerf sees government control of Internet failing", Pedro Fonseca, Reuters, 14 November 2007
  70. 2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools, Hal Roberts, Ethan Zuckerman, and John Palfrey, Beckman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, March 2009
  71. For the BBC poll Internet users are those who used the Internet within the previous six months.
  72. "BBC Internet Poll: Detailed Findings", BBC World Service, 8 March 2010
  73. "Internet access is 'a fundamental right'", BBC News, 8 March 2010
  74. Madrigal, Alexis C. "The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  75. King, Gary; Pan, Jennifer (2014). "Reverse-engineering censorship in China: Randomized experimentation and participant observation". Science. 345 (6199): 1251722. doi:10.1126/science.1251722. PMID   25146296 . Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  76. "Professor Gary King, Inaugural Government Regius Lecture 2015". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  77. Shao, Li (11/01/2018). "THE DILEMMA OF CRITICISM: DISENTANGLING THE DETERMINANTS OF MEDIA CENSORSHIP IN CHINA". Journal of East Asian studies. 18 (3): 279–297. doi:10.1017/jea.2018.19.Check date values in: |date= (help)
  78. Byrd P. "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt: the effectiveness of proposed video game regulation." Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine Houston Law Review 2007. Accessed 19 March 2007.
  79. "A Hornet's Nest Over Violent Video Games", James D. Ivory and Malte Elson, The Chronicle of Higher Education (Washington), 16 October 2013.
  80. gamesradararchive (19 October 2012). "No More Heroes - Censored gameplay 12-07-07" via YouTube.
  81. "Censorship is inseparable from surveillance", Cory Doctorow, The Guardian, 2 March 2012
  82. "Online Censorship : Ubiquitous Big Brother, witchhunt for dissidents" [ dead link ], WeFightCensorship.org, Reporters Without Borders, retrieved 12 March 2013
  83. "When Secrets Aren’t Safe With Journalists", Christopher Soghoian, New York Times, 26 October 2011
  84. The Enemies of the Internet Special Edition : Surveillance Archived 2013-08-31 at the Wayback Machine , Reporters Without Borders, 12 March 2013
  85. Everyone's Guide to By-passing Internet Censorship, The Citizen Lab, University of Toronto, September 2007
  86. Winkler, David (11 July 2002). "Journalists Thrown 'Into the Buzzsaw'". CommonDreams.org. Archived from the original on August 4, 2007.
  87. "Internet Censorship is Absurd and Unconstitutional", Michael Landier, 4 June 1997
  88. "The Trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover", Paul Gallagher, Dangerous Minds, 10 November 2010

Works cited

Further reading