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Censorship in a Technological Turmoil

Guțu Eva, XII A

Censorship has been practiced since ancient times, since even the Roman population was formed accordingly to the character and needs of the regime. Moving forward in time, towards Medieval times and the present day, censorship was forever present. Nowadays, the internet is the most influential force disrupting the news media, hence it is the central contributing factor that leads to a conspicuous shift of power from government to civil society. Poor and/or autocratic countries are facing this issue in a reversed manner since the government is leading the way in which information is produced, and by whom it is consumed. In other words, they direct the flow of information both ways. As a result, censorship flourishes in the information age more than ever.



Governments around the world use such stealthy strategies to manipulate the media in one way or another and journalists are the first to experience such transformative effects. Countries such as Hungary and Turkey have policies that sanction critical media and content, facing somewhat of an “independence strangulation”. Implementing such amendments, in order to “protect and preserve national security” as they prefer to call it, is ultimately detrimental and diminishes free speech. However, recent global issues showed us just how deleterious the mass of misinformation can be, which eventually leads to us asking ourselves whether such brazen censorship is actually necessary.


Furthermore, one can observe some type of censorship matrix, concerning direct and indirect means of achieving and implementing censorship. Blocking and filtering content and exercising pressure on journalists and media personalities are stealthy and direct measures, while restrictions and controlling access to foreign news operations are visible and indirect means.


Censorship is often regarded as something utterly necessary in such a technologically advanced society, an omnipresent issue just as salient as protecting children from the influences of the media and television. However, books stand at the execution line, alongside movies and social media. Book banning is notably the most pervasive form in terms of censorship, and has been for decades. Nevertheless, its extensive increment has been more than ubiquitous over the last few years, especially in the United States. Here books are under profound attack, the mass banning now reaching even picture books for kindergartners. The never-ending scandal about outrageous content in school books reaches infinite lengths, thus striking a substantial backlash and raising the ultimate debate about whether children’s right to education and knowledge is violated in such matters.


Nevertheless, limiting free speech goes to the opposite extreme of censorship. Consequently, it robs the regular citizen of the right to be informed. It can start slow with a few censored words here and there, until whole contexts are altered to suit the narrative, and sooner or later, the “undesirable” beliefs and practices are forever removed or suppressed in favor of the power-holding side.


Given the currently complex and rather fragile geopolitical situation and the overall lack of reaching consensus, the turmoil enhanced by the media shall continue to suffer censors in order to suffice and maintain somewhat of a balance. Nevertheless, censorship has and always will be an omnipresent part in our society, steadily increasing every moment, until one will not have the freedom to notice the distinction between what we are permitted to see and what we are “guided” to see.

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