Saturday, 8 September 2007

Issue 1 - Television Censorship

“In some countries, television and radio programs are carefully censored for offensive language and behavior. In
other countries, there is little or no censorship.”
In your view, to what extent should government or any other group be able to censor television or radio programs?
Explain, giving relevant reasons and/or examples to support your position.

The issue concerning the extent of government’s ability to censor offensive material on TV and radio is controversial. On one hand there is a concern about freedom of the press and the freedom of the people, who have a right to see the un-distorted picture. On the other hand we need to protect society, our children and various communities. I believe that in a democratic society the government must have a broad range of tools to control offensive material from being published freely.

The primary reason for my belief is that we need to protect our children. Children usually have free access to TV and radio. In today’s world these media exert considerable influence on their innocent minds. It is inappropriate to expose them to uncensored offensive material. In extreme cases this may lead to disastrous consequences. For example, there have been shootouts in schools where little children, influenced by violence on TV, have shot and killed their teachers and fellow students.

The second reason is that offensive material can hurt people’s sentiments. In a democratic society that is tolerant to various cultures, religions and communities, the publishing of material that is insulting or deprecating to one group of people is unacceptable. It can also be dangerous and spark reactions. For example, the Danish media published certain cartoons ridiculing Prophet Mohammed. This caused an outrage in the Muslim community and a violent backlash followed. The government must have the necessary tools to prevent such incidents.

Some people may cite that allowing government control over the content in media restricts freedom of the press and of the people. The government may forward its own propaganda and distort the true picture of things. However others argue that in a democratic society such risks are minimal. Especially, if mechanisms are carefully designed to grant the government powers to restrict or moderate content only if it is proven offensive.

In sum I concur that in certain ways freedoms of the people and press are restricted by government censorship of TV and radio content. However, in today’s world where the reach of media is far and wide and more influential than ever, protecting our society and little ones is important. It is necessary for the government to able to censor offensive material on TV and Radio.

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