On the other hand, the proponents point out that different communication media dabble tit ideas, information, and topics that do not need promotion or even be provided to the public at all. This begs the question of whether censorship is more beneficial than otherwise (CM, 1). In that regard, this paper explains that the public benefits more with censorship than without censorship by government. The evaluation Of free expression and censorship requires the use of ethical theories. The two moral theories applicable in this evaluation are consequentiality moral theories (utilitarianism in particular) and deontological theories.
Consequentiality theories, which were put forward by efferent philosophers, such as J. S. Mill (1950), hold that the determination of the rightness of an action is solely dependent on the degree of producing the desirable consequences. Utilitarianism in particular holds that the best action is the one which produces the greatest quantity of good for the most people. Deontological theories put forward by philosophers such as W. D. Ross, on the other hand, hold that the rightness of an action is dependent on other factors rather than the consequences.
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These factors include the intentions behind the action, the justness of the action, respect of the rights of people it effects, consistency with demands of duty, and the intrinsic nature of the consequences. Both theories argue in favor of rights of expression with regard to censorship (Ward, 84). This discussion in this paper considers elements of both theories. Arguments for Censorship From a utilitarian point of view, censorship in the media serves to protect minors in the society misguidance using inappropriate material. One such way is that it reduces the amount of violence on television, at least for children.
Children mostly learn through observation and imitation. Therefore, t is imperative that they are protected from images, which seem to pass inappropriate information. For example, watching excessive violence may lead children to think and/or conclude that it is right to behave heartlessly, and go on picking off other people on the streets. Matters could get worse if the children start behaving that way towards other children. In this case, censorship serves to regulate children’s exposure to violence; thus, emphasizing on the fact that killing people is not only illegal, but also immoral.
In addition, censorship protects children from watching inappropriate material such as pornographic material, which can potentially damage their psychological developmental cycle. This is because they barely know the relevance of their sexual identity, which is best left to personal revelation through body changes with time and subsequent provision of information. Therefore, it is imperative that censorship prevents the delivery of grossly violent, as well as, pornographic events and messages (Reinhardt, 164-165). Media censorship is also instrumental in preventing the promotion of harmful products and substances.
Media censorship is also commonly applicable in the advertisement of cigarettes and alcohol. Different countries have different cultures, which are based on different values and beliefs. Some countries, especially those in the Middle East Region of the world, believe that consumption of alcohol and smoking negatively affects the human body and should not be advertised. This is because the companies that produce the alcohol or tobacco will never attempt to air the side effects of their products, despite the benefits being minimal.
In addition, these companies substantially infinite from the word of mouth advertising in the regions where the sale of the products is allowed (Hollowing and Schwartz, 29). Censoring the media is also instrumental in preventing the spread of harmful information. In other words, it prevents the airing of dirty laundry in public. This is because of the fact that many people are given to violent speeches, as well as, derogatory and/or unfounded comments with regard to a certain race or religion.
The sensitivity of people with regard to comments on these topics requires censorship so that information, which is potentially harmful, cannot reach people and subsequently cause chaos. Additionally, it prevents people who may have the intention of spreading nonsensical propaganda via unsuspecting media from achieving their ill/bad intentions. Allowing such people to express the ill-intended messages on the grounds of freedom of speech is not worthy anything (CM, 1). Media censorship is also essential in the protection of intelligence and/or information regarding the national security of a country.
This primarily refers to military-related information such as weapons technology, knowledge on the enemy, and tactical information mongo others. This information is supposed to be top secret in the government because its exposure potentially puts a county at risk or disadvantage relative to engagement with enemy countries or groups, such as terrorists. Some people say that ignorance is bliss; thus, it is in the best interest of people and their country that the intelligence and plans of their armies stay under wraps.
In that regard, it is necessary to put trustworthy individuals in power and then blindly trust them to be responsible of the actions of the military. One extraordinarily interesting example of where the elevate of applying censorship could have played an instrumental role regards the Iambi terrorist attacks in 2008. In this incidence, the news reporters obtained information on the law enforcement’s counterterrorism operations and explained everything in fine details on the television channels.
The terrorists were hiding in a hotel, and perhaps they could have just switched on the television and got all the inside information about the operation, which could have played out in their favor. In other words, by watching the uncensored information on the television, they could have been re-warned about the upcoming actions by the coo antiterrorism officers. In that regard, it is best not to know some things (CM, 2; Conner et al, 2). Opponents of censorship say that governing authorities may use media censorship to serve their own interests, instead of the interests of the public.
For example, a country may censor certain information from reaching the public, which could potentially alert the public of their misuse and abuse of authority. In this case, foreign channels may serve to provide people with unbiased information because there is not much the same governing authorities can do about what the foreign channels is saying. In this case, the governing bodies may decide to stop people stop people from turning their television channels into such shows. In this sense, media censorship is meant to keep the ignorant, ignorant.
However, information flows through many different media and the government cannot censor all media. Nowadays, the Internet is instrumental in providing live news and information. Internet television is also available to everyone with a computing device or even cellophanes with Internet access, which means such actions by the governing authorities, are ineffective (CM, 2). Media censorship opponents also question whether ignorance is bliss. They point out the pivotal role of sharing knowledge in propagating the emergence of new technology, as well as, the advancement of innovation and technological trends.
It also helps in spreading technology throughout the world. In this regard, lack of spreading knowledge without censorship may lead to intellectual stagnation. They claim that the search for knowledge is responsible of bringing humanity to where it has reached, and that suppression of knowledge will only serve as backward tepees rather than forward steps. This claim is not entirely true because many scholars and researchers subscribe to certain websites, which offer the specific information that they require to further their research activities in different fields of study.
Therefore, this claim is not valid (CM, 2). Those who argue against censorship ask the question that how much freedom is good. This is because censorship seems to negate freedom of speech. To them, there is no point in there being the right to speak when no one listens to the message being put across. In a way, censorship appears to clash with mockery; thus, directly relating to dictatorship. This argument does not consider a few facts about freedom of speech and dictatorship. Dictatorship allows the use of force against people, which is not the case for censorship.
In addition, censorship allows people to voice their concerns, but filters the potentially harmful information from causing harm to listeners. In essence, filtering information is not ill-intended. In that regard, this claim is also unreliable (CM, 2). In conclusion, the evaluation of the ethics of censorship requires the use consequentiality theories and deontological theories, which insider the effect of the action on people and other factors respectively. As discussed in this paper, censorship opponents have strong claims including the following.
Censorship protects minors from the influence pornographic material and gross violence. It also prevents the promotion of harmful products and substances like alcohol and cigarettes. Furthermore, it prevents the use of derogatory massages relating to race or religion that could cause chaos. Moreover, helps in protecting information and intelligence related to national security. Opponents of censorship say that governing authorities ay use censorship for selfish reasons. They also say that censorship may lead to intellectual stagnation because sharing of knowledge is limited.