Censorship in Media by Terence J. Grant


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Censorship history, an argument for and against, as well as a different way to look at censoring.

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Censorship in Media by Terence J. Grant

  1. 1. Censorship in the Media By Terence J. Grant
  2. 2. Censorship: Argument Against <ul><li>We think of censorship in terms of a person or group trying to “maintaining decency” or “hide filth” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which is largely and correctly viewed as introducing personal biases to, “dumbing down of” and defacement of messages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In terms of art, education, and news, censorship is unacceptable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing the message almost always perverts the message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In this case, censorship is used to “hide the truth” </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Censorship: Argument For <ul><li>There is a case to be made for the sake of the children, but that’s tired and clichéd, so let’s take another approach… </li></ul><ul><li>What if censorship became a useful tool? </li></ul><ul><li>Then used properly, it can help keep a message pure of distractions </li></ul><ul><li>For example, which is better at getting the message across? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Too much shit fucks up meaning.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>--Or-- </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Meaning can be lost when the message is unclear.” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Censorship: Argument For <ul><li>Both “mean” the same thing, but the perceived attitudes and personality in the statements are much different </li></ul><ul><li>You may lose part or all of your audience if they infer a personality from the written word that clashes with theirs </li></ul><ul><li>The latter has less “personality” and broader appeal, but can still lose an audience as “boring” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Censorship: Theory <ul><li>If media controls all aspects of life… </li></ul><ul><li>… Then censorship, particularly when it’s used to control the content, attitude, and personality of a message… </li></ul><ul><li>… Has a big impact on all messages… </li></ul><ul><li>… Which in turn, affects the media as a whole… </li></ul><ul><li>… And thus is a large contributor to media’s control. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Censorship: Historical Concept <ul><li>Derives from Roman practices in which two officials were appointed to conduct a census, award contracts, and supervise manners and morals </li></ul><ul><li>Today censorship’s scope in regards to media is that of excluding topics, social groups, and language from broadcasted content </li></ul>
  7. 7. Censorship Motivation <ul><li>Still highly prevalent in Television </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation for censorship comes from familiar sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Military </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Religious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Censorship: Military <ul><li>During the “Desert Storm”/“Gulf War” perhaps the most famous example of a clash between journalists and the United States government </li></ul><ul><li>Before starting a story, the Department of Defense required all journalists to sign off on a set of “Ground Rules” </li></ul><ul><li>After the story was completed, the photos and text were subject to U.S. or allied military censorship </li></ul>
  9. 9. Censorship: Military <ul><li>Case study: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>David Turnley, a photographer for the Detroit Free Press, takes a series of photos from inside an ambush of U.S. soldiers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Although most of his photos don’t make it back to the United States due to the U.S. Government’s fear of the message, one does make it after all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A photo which depicts a soldier who has just realized his best friend was killed after an ambush </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Censorship: Military
  11. 11. Censorship: Military <ul><li>Pictures like this and others show a few things: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Censorship is not absolute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perception of the U.S. Government is that there’s something “to hide” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debate is sparked not only on media, but whether the war is even justified </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a result, the U.S. Government has loosened their grip somewhat on the media </li></ul><ul><li>And this is almost the complete opposite of what they wished to accomplish with censorship </li></ul>
  12. 12. Censorship: Political <ul><li>Universities are hotbeds for political activism </li></ul><ul><li>Occasionally this leads to battles between the college administration board and student groups </li></ul><ul><li>An examination of a person’s morals is typically involved in which “side” to take on censorship issues in politics </li></ul><ul><li>Who is “correct” is largely dependent on your belief system </li></ul>
  13. 13. Censorship: Political <ul><li>Case study: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activism group Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel (SCAI) had a photo exhibit approved for their cause by Stanford University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two days after the exhibit went up, it was pulled without notifying SCAI </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SCAI organizes a protest, resulting in perhaps more awareness than a photo exhibit, but also resulting in conflict between students and administration </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Censorship: Political Student protesters at an SCAI rally, April 21 st , 2008
  15. 15. Censorship: Religious <ul><li>Religious censorship tends to take the form of destruction </li></ul><ul><li>Book burnings occurring throughout history include such incidents as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Burning of Jewish Holy books by the monarch Antiochus IV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Egyptian Alchemy books were burned by Emperor Diocletian in 292 A.D. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comic books were burned in West Viriginia and New York in 1948 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All under the guise of the will of God </li></ul>
  16. 16. Censorship: Religious <ul><li>Case Study: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The “Bonfire of the Vanities” was an art destruction movement during the Renaissance era headed by priest Girolamo Savonarola </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vanities – paintings, mirrors, make-up, and musical instruments were thrown into massive fires, as they would “tempt one to sin” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some artists were even compelled to throw their own works into the fire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: Religious leaders can be powerful influences </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Censorship: Religious Agostino di Duccio, Bonfire of the Vanities, c. 1457-1462
  18. 18. Censorship: Corporate <ul><li>Corporate censorship comes in a different form altogether </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, in the form of advertisement dollars, they completely control the mediums of radio and television </li></ul><ul><li>In a medium they don’t completely control, like the Internet, they use lawyers and “cease and desist” notices </li></ul><ul><li>So if they don’t like a message, image, person, or theme, they can literally shut it down immediately </li></ul>
  19. 19. Censorship: Corporate <ul><li>Case study: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In November 2008, Toyota sent “cease and desist” orders to websites like DesktopNexus claiming ownership of fan created artwork of their cars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The media jumped on the story, and there was a major backlash on news discussion websites such as Slashdot and Digg </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: Before 72 hours had even passed, Toyota admitted wrongdoing and retracted the order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Internet isn’t easy to censor </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Censorship: Corporate A fan created Toyota Yaris image Toyota claimed was their property
  21. 21. Censorship: Why do we still do it? <ul><li>From an anti-censorship perspective, there appear to be more potential dangers than benefits inherit in allowing censorship to continue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forced Vandalism </li></ul></ul><ul><li>However, if we get rid of censorship altogether, we lose an important tool for guiding ourselves as well </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lose our message </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lose our audience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So censoring censorship itself is just as bad </li></ul>
  22. 22. References <ul><li>Censorship, by R. Worringham & R. Buxton, retrieved Thursday November 20, 2008 10:15pm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/C/htmlC/censorship/censorship.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Media Ethics Issues and Cases, 2nd ed. edited by Philip Patterson and Lee Wilkins, Madison, WI: WCB Brown & Benchmark, 1994, pp. 212-215 </li></ul><ul><li>Political Censorship at Stanford U., by S.U.Connected, retrieved Thursday November 20, 2008 10:19pm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/21/18494315.php </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SavanaRola: Lighter of the Bonfire of the Vanities, by R. Russell, retrieved Thursday November 20, 2008 10:20pm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.helium.com/items/489922-savanarola-lighter-of-the-bonfire-of-the-vanities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Toyota demands wallpapers be removed from Desktopnexus, by M. Humphries, retrieved Thursday November 20, 2008 10:22pm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.geek.com/articles/news/toyota-demands-wallpapers-be-removed-from-desktopnexus-20081118/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Toyota Admits Wrongdoing in Wallpaper Case, by B. Jones, retrieved Thursday November 20, 2008 10:24pm </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://torrentfreak.com/toyta-admits-wrongdoing-in-wallpaper-case-081120/ </li></ul></ul>