Television Censorship Essay

1453 words - 6 pages

Television Censorship

WHAT IS CENSORSHIP?

"Censorship is the supervision and control of the information and ideas
that are circulated among the people within a society. In modern times,
censorship refers to the examination of books, periodicals, plays, films,
television and radio programs, news reports, and other communication media for
the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be objectionable or
offensive. The objectionable material may be considered immoral or obscene,
heretical or blasphemous, seditious or treasonable, or injurious to the national
security. Thus, the rationale for censorship is that it is necessary for the
protection of three basic social institutions: the family, the church, and the
state.
Censorship and the ideology supporting it go back to ancient times. Every
society has had customs, taboos, or laws by which speech, play, dress, religious
observance, and sexual expression were regulated(Microsoft Encarta 95)."

CENSORSHIP OF OBSCENITY

"The beginning of a new legal approach may be traced to the action of the
federal courts in the 1930s, when they held that Irish author James Joyce's
Ulysses was not obscene and could be freely passed through customs. The courts
ruled that the use of "dirty words" in "a sincere and honest book" did not make
the book "dirty." Since the 1950s many obscenity cases involving books,
magazines, and film have been brought before the Supreme Court. In the cases
during the 1970s the court ruled that laws against obscenity must be limited "
to works which, taken as a whole, appeal to the prurient interest in sex; which
portray sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and which, taken as a whole,
do not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." The
Court has further held that obscenity should be determined by applying
"contemporary community standards" rather than national standards (Microsoft
Encarta 95)."

WHO DOES TELEVISION CENSORSHIP EFFECT?

CENSORSHIP AFFECTS MINORS AND ADULTS

     Does censorship affect both minors and adults? One incident in Ohio led
a mother of a 5 year old boy to believe so. The boy's mother attributed his
actions to the influence of the popular MTV cartoon show Beavis and Butthead.
In response to watching this cartoon the boy set his house on fire which killed
his younger sister. In response to criticism about the show's violence and
appeal to younger viewers, MTV moved the cartoon to a later time slot, to
prevent young children from viewing it (Microsoft Internet Explorer).
     In another incident a teen-aged boy was killed and two others seriously
injured while lying down along the centerline of a highway. The boys were
imitating a scene from the movie The Program. The accident and the publicity
that followed prompted Touchstone films to remove the scene from the movie, but
leaving many other violent...

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