Censorship

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).

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.

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.

Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov
The Commissar Vanishes 2
Chile quema libros 1973
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

Victims of Communism Memorial DBKing A
Chinese troops destroyed the statue Goddess of Democracy in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and continue to censor information about those events.[7] 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]

Rationale

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

  • Moral censorship is the removal of materials that are obscene or otherwise considered morally questionable. Pornography, for example, is often censored under this rationale, especially child pornography, which is illegal and censored in most jurisdictions in the world.[9][10]
  • Military censorship is the process of keeping military intelligence and tactics confidential and away from the enemy. This is used to counter espionage.
  • Political censorship occurs when governments hold back information from their citizens. This is often done to exert control over the populace and prevent free expression that might foment rebellion.
  • Religious censorship is the means by which any material considered objectionable by a certain religion is removed. This often involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less prevalent ones. Alternatively, one religion may shun the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their religion.
  • Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light,[11][12] or intervene to prevent alternate offers from reaching public exposure.[13]

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]

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.

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.

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]

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]

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

WieczorWroclawia20marca1981
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

Grech old russian censorship
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.

Self-censorship

Censored section of Green Illusions by Ozzie Zehner
Author Ozzie Zehner self-censored the American edition of his environmental book, Green Illusions,[44] 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

1933-may-10-berlin-book-burning
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]

Flag of Palestine
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 World Map
Internet censorship and surveillance by country (2018)[62][63][64][65][66]

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 1993 Time Magazine article quotes computer scientist John Gillmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as saying "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."[68]
  • In November 2007, "Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf stated that he sees government control of the Internet failing because the Web is almost entirely privately owned.[69]
  • A report of research conducted in 2007 and published in 2009 by the Beckman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University stated that: "We are confident that the [censorship circumvention] tool developers will for the most part keep ahead of the governments' blocking efforts", but also that "...we believe that less than two percent of all filtered Internet users use circumvention tools".[70]
  • In contrast, a 2011 report by researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute published by UNESCO concludes "... the control of information on the Internet and Web is certainly feasible, and technological advances do not therefore guarantee greater freedom of speech."[67]

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]

Social Media Censorship
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

Censuraindex
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.

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.

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

2014 Cenzura
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

References

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Works cited

  • Crampton, R. J. (1997), Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century and After, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-16422-1
  • Major, Patrick; Mitter, Rana (2004), "East is East and West is West?", in Major, Patrick, Across the Blocs: Exploring Comparative Cold War Cultural and Social History, Taylor & Francis, Inc., ISBN 978-0-7146-8464-2

Further reading

  • Abbott, Randy. "A Critical Analysis of the Library-Related Literature Concerning Censorship in Public Libraries and Public School Libraries in the United States During the 1980s." Project for degree of Education Specialist, University of South Florida, December 1987.
  • Birmingham, Kevin, "The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses", London (Head of Zeus Ltd), 2014, ISBN 978-1594203367
  • Burress, Lee. Battle of the Books. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1989.
  • Butler, Judith, "Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative"(1997)
  • Foucault, Michel, edited by Lawrence D. Kritzman. Philosophy, Culture: interviews and other writings 1977–1984 (New York/London: 1988, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-90082-4) (The text Sexual Morality and the Law is Chapter 16 of the book).
  • Gilbert, Nora. "Better Left Unsaid: Victorian Novels, Hays Code Films, and the Benefits of Censorship." Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.
  • Wittern-Keller, Laura. Freedom of the Screen: Legal Challenges to State Film Censorship, 1915–1981. University Press of Kentucky 2008
  • Hoffman, Frank. "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship." Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1989.
  • Mathiesen, Kay Censorship and Access to Information Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics, Kenneth E. Himma, Herman T. Tavani, eds., John Wiley and Sons, New York, 2008
  • National Coalition against Censorship (NCAC). "Books on Trial: A Survey of Recent Cases." January 1985.
  • Parker, Alison M. (1997). "Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873–1933," University of Illinois Press.
  • Biltereyst, Daniel, ed. Silencing Cinema. Palgrave/Macmillan, 2013.
  • Ringmar, Erik A Blogger's Manifesto: Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet (London: Anthem Press, 2007)
  • Terry, John David II. "Censorship: Post Pico." In "School Law Update, 1986," edited by Thomas N. Jones and Darel P. Semler.
  • Silber, Radomír. Partisan media and modern censorship: media influence on Czech political partisanship and the media's creation of limits to public opposition and control of exercising power in the Czech Republic in the 1990s. First edition. Brno: Tribun EU, 2017. 86 stran. Librix.eu. ISBN 978-80-263-1174-4.
  • Silber, Radomír. (2018) On Modern Censorship in Public Service Broadcasting. Cultural and Religious Studies, Volume 3, 2018, ISSN 2328-2177.
Book censorship

Book censorship is the act of some authority, government or otherwise, taking measures to prevent access to a book or to part of its contents. It can be enacted at the national or subnational level, and can carry legal penalties. Books may also be challenged at a local community level, although successful bans do not extend outside that area. Similarly, religions may issue lists of banned books—a historical example being the Roman Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum—which do not always carry legal force.

Censorship by Google

Censorship by Google is Google's removal or omission of information from its services or those of its subsidiary companies, such as YouTube, in order to comply with its company policies, legal demands, or various government censorship laws. Google's censorship varies between countries and their regulations, and ranges from advertisements to speeches. Over the years, the search engine's censorship policies and targets have also differed, and have been the source of internet censorship debates.Numerous governments have asked Google to censor what they publish. In 2012 Google ruled in favor of more than half of the requests they received via court orders and phone calls. This did not include China and Iran who block their site entirely.

Censorship in China

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 (de facto paramount leader) in 2012, censorship has been "significantly stepped up".The government maintains censorship over all media capable of reaching a wide audience. This includes television, print media, radio, film, theater, text messaging, instant messaging, video games, literature, and the Internet. Chinese officials have access to uncensored information via an internal document system.

Reporters Without Borders ranks China's press situation as "very serious", the worst ranking on their five-point scale. In August 2012, the OpenNet Initiative classified Internet censorship in China as "pervasive" in the political and conflict/security areas and "substantial" in the social and Internet tools areas, the two most extensive classifications of the five they use. Freedom House, a US backed NGO, ranks the press there as "not free", the worst ranking, saying that "state control over the news media in China is achieved through a complex combination of party monitoring of news content, legal restrictions on journalists, and financial incentives for self-censorship," and an increasing practice of "cyber-disappearance" of material written by or about activist bloggers.Other views suggest that Chinese businesses such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, some of the world's largest internet enterprises, have benefited from the way China blocked international rivals from the domestic market.

Censorship in North Korea

Censorship in North Korea ranks among some of the most extreme in the world, with the government able to take strict control over communications. North Korea is ranked at the bottom of Reporters Without Borders' annual Press Freedom Index, occupying the last place in 2017.

All media outlets are owned and controlled by the North Korean government. As such, all media in North Korea get their news from the Korean Central News Agency. The media dedicate a large portion of their resources toward political propaganda and promoting the personality cult of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. The government of Kim Jong-un still has absolute authority over and control of the press and information.

Censorship in the Soviet Union

Censorship in the Soviet Union was pervasive and strictly enforced.

Censorship was performed in two main directions:

State secrets were handled by the General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press (also known as Glavlit), which was in charge of censoring all publications and broadcasting for state secrets

Censorship, in accordance with the official ideology and politics of the Communist Party was performed by several organizations:

Goskomizdat censored all printed matter: fiction, poetry, etc.

Goskino, in charge of cinema

Gosteleradio, in charge of radio and television broadcasting

The First Department in many agencies and institutions, such as the State Statistical Committee (Goskomstat), was responsible for assuring that state secrets and other sensitive information only reached authorized hands.

Censorship of Wikipedia

Censorship of Wikipedia has occurred in several countries, including China, France, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela. Some instances are examples of widespread internet censorship in general that includes Wikipedia content. Others are indicative of measures to prevent the viewing of specific content deemed offensive. The length of different blocks have varied from days to years. When Wikipedia ran on the HTTP protocol, governments were able to block specific articles. However, in 2011 Wikipedia began running on HTTPS as well, and in 2015 switched over entirely. Since then, the only censorship option had been to block the entire site for a particular language, which has resulted in some countries dropping their bans and others expanding their bans to the entire site.

Censorship of YouTube

Video-sharing platform YouTube is the second-most popular website as of 2017, according to Alexa Internet. According to the company's press page, YouTube has more than one billion users and each day those users watch more than one billion hours of video. Censorship of it has occurred and continues to occur in many countries throughout the world.

Central Board of Film Certification

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) (often referred to as the Censor Board) is a statutory censorship and classification body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. It is tasked with "regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952". Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the Board, including films shown on television.

Euphemism

A euphemism is an innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse, while others use bland, inoffensive terms for concepts that the user wishes to downplay. Euphemisms may be used to mask profanity or refer to taboo topics such as disability, sex, excretion, or death in a polite way.

Freedom of speech

Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term "freedom of expression" is sometimes used synonymously but includes any act of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the UDHR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". The version of Article 19 in the ICCPR later amends this by stating that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".Freedom of speech and expression, therefore, may not be recognized as being absolute, and common limitations or boundaries to freedom of speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling, non-disclosure agreements, the right to privacy, the right to be forgotten, public security, and perjury. Justifications for such include the harm principle, proposed by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty, which suggests that: "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."The idea of the "offense principle" is also used in the justification of speech limitations, describing the restriction on forms of expression deemed offensive to society, considering factors such as extent, duration, motives of the speaker, and ease with which it could be avoided. With the evolution of the digital age, application of the freedom of speech becomes more controversial as new means of communication and restrictions arise, for example the Golden Shield Project, an initiative by Chinese government's Ministry of Public Security that filters potentially unfavorable data from foreign countries.

Instagram

Instagram (also known as IG or insta) is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS. A version for Android devices was released a year and half later, in April 2012, followed by a feature-limited website interface in November 2012, and apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 in April 2016 and October 2016 respectively.

The app allows users to upload photos and videos to the service, which can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information. An account's posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users' content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can "like" photos, and follow other users to add their content to a feed.

The service was originally distinguished by only allowing content to be framed in a square (1:1) aspect ratio, but these restrictions were eased in 2015. The service also added messaging features, the ability to include multiple images or videos in a single post, as well as "Stories"—similar to its main competitor Snapchat—which allows users to post photos and videos to a sequential feed, with each post accessible by others for 24 hours each.

After its launch in 2010, Instagram rapidly gained popularity, with one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 800 million as of September 2017. In April 2012, Facebook acquired the service for approximately US$1 billion in cash and stock. As of October 2015, over 40 billion photos had been uploaded to the service. Although praised for its influence, Instagram has been the subject of criticism, most notably for policy and interface changes, allegations of censorship, and illegal or improper content uploaded by users.

As of 14 January 2019, the most liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, posted by the account @world_record_egg, created with a sole purpose of surpassing the previous record of 18 million likes on a Kylie Jenner post. The picture currently has over 50 million likes.

Internet censorship

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.The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While most democratic countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens. Internet censorship also occurs in response to or in anticipation of events such as elections, protests, and riots. An example is the increased censorship due to the events of the Arab Spring. Other areas of censorship include copyrights, defamation, harassment, and obscene material.

Government agencies have various tools to implement restrictions but supporters of internet freedom are trying to overcome such barriers and filters. Access to restricted sites was effectively blocked by tracing and blocking DNS requests but companies like Cloudflare, Mozilla and Google are shifting DNS to TLS layer and making it difficult to intercept.

Support for and opposition to Internet censorship also varies. In a 2012 Internet Society survey 71% of respondents agreed that "censorship should exist in some form on the Internet". In the same survey 83% agreed that "access to the Internet should be considered a basic human right" and 86% agreed that "freedom of expression should be guaranteed on the Internet". Perception of internet censorship in the US is largely based on the First Amendment and the right for expansive free speech and access to content without regard to the consequences. According to GlobalWebIndex, over 400 million people use virtual private networks to circumvent censorship or for increased user privacy.

Internet censorship in China

Internet censorship in China is among the most extensive censorships 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 ISPs, 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 nickname "The Great Firewall of China."

As per Hoffman, different methods are used to block certain websites or pages including DNS poisoning, blocking access to IPs, analysing and filtering URLs, inspecting filter packets and resetting connections.Amnesty International notes that China has "the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world," and Paris-based Reporters Without Borders stated in 2010 and 2012 that "China is the world's biggest prison for netizens." The offences which they are accused of include communicating with groups abroad, signing online petitions and calling for reform and an end to corruption. The escalation of the government's effort to neutralise critical online opinions comes after a series of large anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests, as well as ethnic riots, many of which were organised or publicised using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Chinese internet police force was reported by state media to be 2 million in 2013.Carrie Gracie wrote that local Chinese businesses such as Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba, some of the world's largest internet enterprises, benefited from the way China blocked international rivals from the market thus encouraging domestic competition.Since May 2015, Chinese Wikipedia has been blocked in mainland China. This was done after Wikipedia started to use HTTPS encryption which made selective censorship more difficult or impossible.

Although the censorship affects the whole nation, it does not affect China's special administrative regions such as Hong Kong and Macau. These regions enjoy a high degree of autonomy, as specified in local laws and the "One country, two systems" principle. Nevertheless, it was reported that the central government authorities have been closely monitoring the Internet use in these regions.

Obscenity

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.

Parental Advisory

The Parental Advisory label (abbreviated PAL) is a warning label first introduced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1985 and later adopted by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in 2011. It is placed on audio recordings in recognition of excessive profanities or inappropriate references, with the intention of alerting parents of potentially unsuitable material for younger children. The label was first affixed on physical 33 1/3 rpm records, compact discs and cassette tapes, and it has been included on digital listings offered by online music stores to accommodate the growing popularity of the latter platform.

Recordings with the Parental Advisory label are often released alongside censored versions that reduce or eliminate the questionable material. Several retailers will distribute all varieties of the product, occasionally with an increased price for censored versions, while some sellers offer the amended pressings as their main options and choose not to distribute the explicit counterparts. However, the label has been questioned for its perceived ineffectiveness in limiting the amount of inappropriate material that young audiences are exposed to.

Religious censorship

Religious censorship 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 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.

Religious censorship can also take form in the destruction of monuments and texts that contradict or conflict with the religion practiced by the oppressors, such as attempts to censor the Harry Potter book series. Destruction of historic places is another form of religious censorship. One cited incident of religious censorship was the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan by radical Islamists as part of their religious goal of oppressing another religion.

Self-censorship

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 (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.

In authoritarian countries, creators of artworks may remove material that their government might find controversial for fear of sanction by their governments. In pluralistic capitalist countries, repressive judicial lawmaking can also cause widespread "rivercrabbing" of Western media.Self-censorship can also occur in order to conform to the expectations of the market. For example, the editor of a periodical may consciously or unconsciously avoid topics that will anger advertisers, customers, or the owners in order to protect her or his livelihood either directly (i.e., fear of losing his job) or indirectly (e.g., a belief that a book will be more profitable if it does not contain offensive material). This phenomenon is referred to as soft censorship.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of speech from all forms of censorship. Article 19 explicitly states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay (sometimes abbreviated to TPB) is an online index of digital content of entertainment media and software. Founded in 2003 by Swedish think tank Piratbyrån, The Pirate Bay allows visitors to search, download, and contribute magnet links and torrent files, which facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing among users of the BitTorrent protocol.

In April 2009, the website's founders (Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, and Gottfrid Svartholm) were found guilty in the Pirate Bay trial in Sweden for assisting in copyright infringement and were sentenced to serve one year in prison and pay a fine. In some countries, Internet service providers (ISPs) have been ordered to block access to the website. Subsequently, proxy websites have been providing access to it. Founders Svartholm, Neij, and Sunde were all released by 2015 after having served shortened sentences.The Pirate Bay has sparked controversies and discussion about legal aspects of file sharing, copyright, and civil liberties and has become a platform for political initiatives against established intellectual property laws and a central figure in an anti-copyright movement. The website faced several shutdowns and domain seizures, switching to a series of new web addresses to continue operating.

X rating

In some countries, X is or has been a motion picture rating reserved for the most explicit films. Films rated X are intended only for viewing by adults, usually defined as people over the age of 18 or 21.

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