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Disadvantages of Censorship Essay

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The censorship debate is a long one, and the numbers seem to be equally divided between both sides. Censorship exists in all forms of media, and far beyond it. Those against are not campaigning for a completely censorship free country, but just to minimise it to an extent where it is not such a predominant part of what we watch, hear and think.

It would be impossible and unrealistic to believe that the country would be able to function properly without some control of the information leaked to the general public, but it is also a worrying prospect that we may not know as much as we think we do about the country we live in and the problems facing it. One example of the advantages of censorship is during World War II.

It played a major part along with propaganda to maintain a positive atmosphere throughout England, as if all the gruesome details concerning the ever-increasing death rate, the awful state of the soldiers and the destruction of homes and buildings were openly shared, not only would the people of England lose the faith they once had in winning the war, but it would make the country much easier to beat. The army wouldn’t have anything to prove, and the German spies closely monitoring the media would be able to pin-point the perfect places to destroy in order to bring morale to such a low that the English would have no choice but to surrender.

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But was this really justified? Didn’t the people have a right to know the real condition other parts of the country were in? What gives the government the right to release incorrect statistics? This is the type of thing being debated about today. To what extent should ‘free speech’ be limited? Would that even still count as ‘free’? What would have happened if an English soldier had been allowed to write home about the true ‘glory’ of the war?

His family would have obviously been horrified, and consequently told their friends and co-workers, warning them against sending their son to war. If this was wide-spread enough, there would have been a dramatic increase in the men avoiding conscription and a decrease in enthusiasm in joining, making it weaker and even more out-numbered by the opposing forces leading to almost definite defeat. But is this a reason enough to make this soldier lie? To subject thousands more men to a gruesome and possibly fatal ordeal? Does the ends really justify the means?

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