Censorship is used by companies, and governments to “tone down” art that people may deem inappropriate for the general public. Many times artists will have to make a “clean” version of their songs for use on the radio, and even certain classic books aren’t allowed in schools because of mature themes, and vulgar language. At what point does censorship go from protecting children from sensitive material to keeping them ignorant from the real world? In my opinion, censorship in any form whatsoever is blatant disrespect to artistic integrity, and is completely unacceptable.
In the United States, the first amendment protects everyone from being censored by the government. People in other countries don’t have this privilege however. In the east African country of Eritrea, President Isaias Afewerki has made it so that only state media can disseminate news, and any privately owned media outlets have been suspended, and all of their journalists put in jail. In 2015, a study by CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) revealed that at least twenty-three of those journalists in jail weren’t even tried in court, or even charged with a crime. The threat of imprisonment is so severe that even state media journalists face exile instead of taking the risk of arrest. What President Afewerki has achieved is complete censorship, and control over the media, and if any news outlet says anything he doesn’t like, or agree with, they will be thrown in jail. To make this bleak situation even worse is that in that same study by CPJ, “Five journalists arrested in 2001 may have died in prison according to recent exiles”, but because of limited access to information, none of the deaths can be confirmed.
North Korea also has limited access to information. Article fifty-three of their constitution calls for freedom of the press, but almost all of the content from their newspapers comes from the Korean Central News Agency, which focuses on the political leadership statements and activities. The internet is also restricted to the political elite, and schools and state institutions have to use a controlled internet called Kwangmyong. Anyone in North Korea that wants to get independent information has to look for bootlegged DVD’s and television stations. Kim Jong Un had ordered his uncle Jang Song Thaek to be executed, and afterwards, any mention of him in media had been removed, and even video footage of him had been edited to remove him. That seems to be something that Communist leaders have in common, because Joseph Stalin also executed, and censored people out of images that he didn’t agree with. No matter which way you look at it, the citizens of a country shouldn’t live in fear of being removed from ever existing in the media, and be forced to look for illegal bootlegs for information not regulated by the government.
Other countries also have media that is controlled by the government. Iran was the world’s leading jailer of...