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Essay/Term paper: Media censorship

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Miscellaneous

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Today there is much controversy over whether there should or shouldn"t be censorship of the media. Censorship should not be imposed on citizens by the government or other agencies; adults have a right to view or listen to what they choose. Additionally, if children"s media is censored, parents are the ones who should monitor and regulate it. Parents should be the ones to monitor children"s viewing of television and also what they hear on the radio, CD"s, and tapes.

Censorship includes the examination and blocking of books, periodicals, plays, films, television and radio programs, news reports, and other communication media that is shown to, or available to the public. Media censorship is sometimes put into place because content is immoral or obscene, heretical or blasphemous, seditious or treasonable, or injurious to the national security. It is supposedly used for the protection of the family, the church, and the state. Additionally some religious groups, opposed to the violence shown in different types of media, say censorship works. Still more that believe in civil rights think that it is an unnecessary violation of the right to freedom of speech for all humans.

Censorship of the media for children is necessary, but should not be handled by government or other groups. Instead it should be directed and controlled by parents. Censorship for children is necessary because the average American view"s 100,000 acts of violence on TV before reaching the age of thirteen. Many of the violent acts are presented in news stations which are stations parents or adults watch to find out information about weather, and road conditions, or anything that can help with daily life. If the government were to bring censorship to these stations, adults would not see the news reports in their area or around the world. For this to be avoided, the government must leave censorship to parents.

To facilitate parents" exercise of censoring for their children Congress passed a law in 1996 that required manufacturers of television sets to install a special computer chip called the V-chip into every television; This allows parents to block shows with excessive violence. For the V-chip to be effective, a rating system was developed. When the law was passed, opponents saw the requirements as a threat to free speech rights of the First Amendment. This argument is true; however, it is a closer step to having parents control television viewing of their children instead of the government censoring without parental input. Opponents of censorship and parents should be in favor of the V-chip because it allows control, blocking, or censoring of television rather than having no control over it. The V-chip allows individuals to monitor their own TV and their children"s consumption of media, while not putting it into the hands of the government, but by adults and parent"s of children who can control for themselves what they want to watch.

The television industry is supportive of the V-chip as it stops short of government control of the media. Hollywood, usually blamed for producing violent, prejudice, and racist content in films, is maintaining a rating system that informs parents which movies contain content unsuitable for children. This work is a great step for getting censorship away from the government and back to the parents. Having this rating system informs individuals of the content in the movies and people have the choice to view them. Individuals in the market place will make decisions about what they buy, read, rent or see. The media may outrage consumers, but they have the choice of whether or not to watch it.

As a democracy, our Government should not be telling us what we can and cannot watch, read, or listen to. Adults should be responsible enough to make the decision for themselves. And it is the responsibility of all parents to know where to draw the line for their children. 

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