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A Look at the Arguments for and Against Censorship Essay

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“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” (Roleff, Barbour, and Szumski 5). Controversy surrounds the topic of censorship. Americans generally believe in the freedom of speech and expression, but some citizens of the liberal USA support censorship. Internationally speaking, censorship is not really a topic of discussion, it just exists. Librarians have struggled with censorship over the years and the development of new technology and communication has made the predicament even worse. The situation with censorship is akin to walking a desert filled with land mines; at any moment any idea or opinion once held near and dear may end up blown to smithereens. In a world where censorship is examined the lines between black and white begin to blur and everything turns into ten shades of gray.
When broaching the topic of censorship a direct definition of the word becomes necessary. Censorship is “the regulation or suppression of writing or speech that is considered harmful to the common good or a threat to national security” (“Censorship” par.1). The vagueness of this definition as well as numerous other definitions pose as a serious dilemma for law making officials. This ambiguity allows for many different interpretations in which proponents use to their advantage. Both advocates and opponents of censorship believe that everyone has the right to expand his knowledge and learn about new ideas. “Not all forms of speech are entitled to equal protection under US law.” (qtd. in “Introduction to Censorship:” par. 4). Both groups believe that people should have a right to say what they want to say, but for some that right applies only to a certain degree.
In political terms there are those who...


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Roleff, Tara L, Scott Barbour, and Bonnie Szumski, eds. Censorship. 2002. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, n.d. Print. Opposing Viewpoints.
Westwater, Anne C. “Censorship from the Left and Right Distorts Textbooks.” Are Text Books Biased. Ed. Noah Berlatsky. Vol. 12. N.p.: Greenhaven press, 2012. N. pag. The Textbook Letter 4. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. .



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