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Review of Literature Censorship in the Media

Armando Chaidez
University of Texas at El Paso
English 1302


Censorship in the media is most common nowadays, in a TV network if the network feels
that something is inappropriate then they will censor it to prevent young audiences from being
exposed too early. Censorship in a way has become more prevalent because over the years it has
become a more common practice. Most people who embrace the ideas of the 1st amendment
dont like how some things are censored especially music lyrics and TV shows, they believe that
the ideas of the original artist that was intended to be shown are now convoluted. Some question
whether it is right to censor these shows for the convenience of the parents of the young audience
or it just disrupts the artist original image. This literary review goes over all 4 questions of
censorship and see if its right.
Censorship in the Media
According to the Funk & Wagnalls New Word Encyclopedia censorship is defined as the
supervision and control of the information and ideas that are circulated among the people within
a society (Funk & Wagnalls New Word Encyclopedia, n.d). As previously stated censorship is
more prevalent than before but is it really necessary to censor explicit content. In the United
States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is most responsible of overlooking
everything that is broadcast around networks. It checks to see if a certain show is appropriate for
the intended target audience. More common among younger audiences censorship is generally
disliked for having the original message meant to be sent altered to something else. For example
in a TV Show a character in the show says this line Get out of my damn house while in the
censored version he says Get out of my darn house. In this example damn is changed to darn,


most likely out of fear of the censor because if any young viewer is watching they will probably
start mimicking the phrase or word. Is censorship really necessary for content in the media and
the government? However not everyone agrees with these practices, this is where these three
questions come into play:

What types of censorship are there?

What should and shouldnt be censored by the media and the government?
Should the government censor parts of a big news story
Is Censorship against Freedom of Speech?

These questions will try to answer the why there is censorship and is it really necessary to do
it, especially in the media and big news stories.
What Types of Censorship are There?
In censorship there are many types of censorship such as TV, radio and book censorship
which falls in media censorship, theres also censorship in news stories and newspaper articles,
details that have been left out by the government. In a TV show or in the radio it is most common
practice for the broadcasting company to censor explicit or suggestive content. This isnt much
of a surprise since most people would find it inappropriate for children to be exposed to that type
of content at a young age. The other type of censorship is details in a news story that are
censored. According to Luiz Gonzales the editor of the UTEP newspaper most of what happens
in a big news story is covered in the news and not much is censored with the exception of some
small details. This is what is known as government censorship (The Prospector, 2015). He also
mentions on how some censorship such as in a journalism publication is found only because
some individuals dont want to be featured in it. (The Prospector, 2015).


To get into even more detail there are names for certain types of censorship for example
the first is Preventive censorship. This type is when something is censored at the last minute, like
for example; a show is about to air in a network and it contains a certain song from a certain
artist. Right before they can air, the song is censored and is changed into something else because
the network didnt have the rights or copyrights to air the song with the show. Another example
could be when a news story is censored by the local or federal government to prevent the general
public from knowing all the details. The next one is punitive censorship which is when
something is censored after it has already been shown to the public. An example of this could be
that when a song first plays in the airwaves and the song says a swear word in the song, later on
when the song is later replayed the swear word previously uncensored will now be censored.
What should and shouldnt be censored by the Media and the Government?
Censorship is unpopular among many people who prefer to watch or hear the message
meant to be sent. It is however required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to
censor anything deemed unappropriated to younger viewers. The FCC overseas everything in the
media to ensure nothing deemed unsuitable for young viewers to watch, hear or read. What is
mostly censored are inappropriate or explicit content, whether this should or should not be
censored is up to the viewer or listener. In the media many things are censored such as books, TV
shows and even speeches. The editor of UTEP Prospector Luiz Gonzales believes that censorship
especially in government news stories should not be censored and that it is the right of the people
to know what is going on. (The Prospector, 2015)
In the website debate.org where several topics are debated with censorship being one of
those topics people are debating whether censorship is right or wrong. Judging from the


overwhelming response of the people more people side with keeping the media from being
censored. With the ratio being 28% say yes for censorship while 72% say they are against it.
Most people dont agree with any type of censorship, Luiz Gonzales of the UTEP prospector
says that in the Journalism field there are no strict limits on censoring information unless an
individual comes to them and tells them they dont want to be featured in the news article or
story.(The Prospector, 2015)
Should the Government Censor Parts of a Big News Story?
The most controversial type of censorship is government censorship. Most would agree if
something huge happens such as an incident like the bombing of a town, the people have the
right to know every detail of what happened, however the governments have been known to
censor parts. In the UTEP prospector, the editor Luiz Gonzales has stated that governments do
play a part in censoring content to the general public, either keeping it a secret for a certain
amount of time or not revealing it at all. He also believes that the government should not censor
anything because the people have the right to know and is against the first amendment of
freedom of speech. (The Prospector, 2015)
In an article of CNET it was reported that Google was given over 1,000 requests from
government officials to censor content from its search engines. Google did do half of the
requests, which include search listings and YouTube videos. This is just an example on how
governments act with its censorship laws, if something does not go with their views or they feel
that the public should not have access to this type of content, then they will censor it. This also
happens in countries in which censorship in not very common, such as the United States. This is


where some question if the first amendments freedom of speech is put at risk because of the
government officials censoring content and keeping the public at bay.

Is Censorship against freedom of speech?

Going back on the debate.org quiz if you were to ask people what they prefer, if you were
to use that quiz to represent everyone, then mostly everyone would say that they are against
censorship and that its against freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is what most Americans
believe in deeply, that you can say anything you want despite what other people might think of it.
Technically speaking censorship is against freedom of speech because its preventing
from what meant to be said to be communicated improperly. The original message is altered
because of peoples fear that the content will cause controversy and they want it to meet by
societys standards. Luiz Gonzales of the UTEP Prospector is a strong supporter of Freedom of
speech. He believes that people are meant to hear everything that needs to be heard, with some
exceptions. If someone wishes to remain anonymous they could. (The Prospector, 2015)

Going over all the
being What types of

This is a graph that was done

in 1998 by Georgia Tech GVU
center. It shows the results of
a survey taken to show how
people think of Censorship.
With over 25% of the people
voted on strongly disagree.

questions with the first one

Censorship are there? As

stated there are many two main types being censorship in the media and the government. As well
as other types of censorship being Preventive and Punitive. The second question What should


and shouldnt be censored by the media and the government? This question is split into two
parts because of people different opinions on the topic. One side believes certain things should
be censored while other believes there should be little if any censorship. The third question is
Should the Government censor parts of a big news story? With this question the answers is that
the government should not censor anything in the news stories especially if they are governments
where free speech is encouraged. The final question is that is Censorship against freedom of
speech with it being yes. Since censorship is preventing from the full message being spread to
the people. Is government really necessary for the media and the government? It up to the
individual people who would have to decide for themselves.



(n.d). Defining Censorship. Censorship. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from

(n.d). Debate.org. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from

National Coalition Against Censorship (n.d.) Retrieved October 16, 2015, From

(n.d). The University of Texas at El Paso. The Prospector. Retrieved October 16, 2015,

from http://www.theprospectordaily.com/tag/utep-prospector/
(n.d). Opinions on censorship (n.d) Retrieved October 16, 2015, from

Gonzales, Luiz. Personal Interview. 15 October 2015
(n.d). (October 1998). Opinions on Censorship. From

Musil, S. (2012, June 17). Google sees alarming level of government censorship.
CNET. Retrieved October 16, 2015, from http://www.cnet.com/news/google-seesalarming-level-of-government-censorship/