Philosophical Thinking: Justifying Media Censorship.

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Controversial Topics, Philosophical thinking.

Say as I say exactly how I say it.

(QUESTION)

CAN CERSORING MEDIA EVER BE JUSTIFIED?
A strong case can be made that individual safety as well as the smooth flow of business have often been adversely affected by loosely controlled media reports.
Lurid reporting of crime (especially bizarre ones) seems to trigger further incidents putting more people in jeopardy (e.g. Skyjackings snipings, sex crimes).
Reporting of shortages (gas and toilet tissue) tended in some cases to actually create more of a shortage by causing panic buying.

There is reason to believe that because of editorial policies and political affiliations, newspaper chains and television networks do not necessarily present the news in an unbiased manner, thus thwarting the democratic process.

Television networks and newspaper chains have reported events of national importance totally differently from each other. (E.g. During the 1972 Democratic Convention in Chicago, one network showed dirty, vulgar “hippie” type protesters crudely abusing the fine family men of the Chicago Police Department; while another network showed a metropolitan Gestapo-type law enforcer dresses like Darth Vader mistreating socially conscious young Americans who were only exercising their heritage of lawful protest). Where was the truth to be found?

One might argue that The Constitution guarantees each of these news organs the right of free expression to report whatever part of the news they choose and in whatever manner. Freedom of the press is a precious right cherished by American citizens and must be protected; yet, our concept of government necessitates that citizens be accurately informed in order to put proper pressure on legislators in a timely fashion.

The issue is further complicated by yet another “right,” that of Free Enterprise. Competition in the market place is an essential element of capitalism. This means that business have the right to produce what sells, to compete for the consumer’s dollars. So, if the public wants lurid reporting and sensationalism, the news organs demand the right to print it.

(ANSWER)

No, I don’t believe media should ever be taken away from the people of a country. Much less the media though than the ability to just say what we would like to. The media is only an extension of free speech. The same thing happened when there was no TV, radios, newspapers, internet or media types. It’s just that news traveled much more slowly. With technology came the ability to speak with a louder voice and therefore spread the news over a much more diverse and populated audience.

Could the media be a stumbling block for a pure society? Of course! And that is not always a bad thing. But let’s just say it is for a second. There will never be a pure society because all of us are human and we all have human nature. Which means that we will do what we want and will make the wrong choices whether we are influenced or not. People are not robots or statistics that spit out results based on the information that they take in. And you know, it’s really up to the individual to believe what they see in the paper or on the television. Just because you hear something or see something does not mean it’s real. It comes down to the individual to determine what is right to trust and what isn’t. As far as for the business world, I’m quite positive that media has aided the business world much more than it has ever hurt it. How many ads are played on TV every day? How many ads are printed into newspapers and magazines across the world? I think that any business would take the risk to put their ad into a magazine rather than ban the whole thing because of what that magazine’s editor said about your product in the issue.

Also, regarding the issue of fame and at times, infamy. Once again, we can say what we would like over TV, newspapers, and magazines but it comes down to the individual to decide what is right. If you see that a serial killer is getting quite a lot of attention and you decide that you would like that too, well then buddy, that’s your problem. It’s not what is said, but what people decide to do with it.

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Comments
  1. Joshua says:

    There are literally thousands of quotes I could say here, but I’ll throw out a few of my favorites:

    If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise then we do not believe in it at all.
    -Noam Chomsky

    I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
    -Voltaire

    We have a natural right to make use of our pens as of our tongue, at our peril, risk and hazard.
    -Voltaire

    I recommend you read Farenheit 451 for a pretty brutal examination of censorship in society. Chilling, in parts.

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