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Anuraag KalojiMrs. BianucciEnglish 12 DE17 January 2018  Censorship Should the suppression of speech or other communication, which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government or media outlet, be seen as a negative quality to the world? The limitation of speech is usually seen as a barrier to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Four Freedoms articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941. According to the American Library Association, censorship is defined as the stoppage of ideas and information that certain people, such as groups or government officials, may find sensitive or harmful. This regulatory force is prevalent in many parts of the world and is present in the most visible form in the industries of entertainment and media. Censorship has the potential of limiting the freedoms of everyone, and everything. People will not be able to express themselves in the way they originally intended to do so, and have to manage with whatever is allowed. During many occurrences in the past, components, such as literature and writings, that would have played a significant role in raising awareness about certain topics were censored by higher authorities such as governments and religious institutions such as temples, and churches. According to the Britannica Academic, the article History of Publishing claims “As the works of the reformers increased in numbers, the censorship inclined increasingly harsh.” For example, when the printing press was first invented in 1440, it remodeled the way books or any writings were published. As of the 16th century, in most European countries both, the church and governments, aimed to control the printing. The governments enforced controls over printers in Europe, necessitating them to have legitimate and official licenses to market and make books. At the time, this act of censorship and judgement prevented people from being able to write or publish any works freely without the interference of the church and politics. In the United States, The Pentagon Papers, which described the U.S. involvement in Vietnam, were published by The New York Times. On June 14, 1971, the attorney general of the United States, John N. Mitchell, demanded that The Times avoid further publication of the Pentagon Papers, however, The Times declined. The government charged the newspaper giant with violating the Espionage Act and seeked to admonish further publication. The Times stated “We have been informed of the attorney general’s intention to seek an injunction against further publication. We believe that it is properly a matter for the courts to decide. The Times will oppose any request for an injunction for the same reason that led us to publish the articles in the first place. We will of course abide by the final decision of the court.” The Supreme Court rejected the government’s argument and stated that the gesture violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If The Times were to have been overpowered by the government, it would have hindered the general public from being informed of details that only the newspaper was aware of. The most preeminent form of censorship around the world affects public entertainment. For a film to be released, most countries require a motion picture content rating system to rate a film’s suitability for certain audiences based on its content. The MPAA rating system, or the Motion Picture Association of America, is a voluntary arrangement, since it is not enforced by law that a film must have a rating, however, many theatres refuse to screen a motion picture if it does not have a rating issued by the MPAA. A rating may not be enforced for a film in the U.S. but it is required for a film in places like India, and France. In India, a film can take upto 68 days to process and be released to the public. The CBFC, or the Central Board of Film Certification, is the rating system in India and has the right to suggest changes to a film once it is submitted to them. The timeframe of 68 days consists of thorough reviewing of the film, and any dialogue or scene(s) that may be assumed as sensitive to the public are mentioned to the makers of the film and suggested to be cut in the version that will be released to the public. Religion also plays a role in the passage of films in India. American films like The da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were both banned in India. The da Vinci Code was banned due to the religious riots that ensued shortly after the release of the film. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was not released in India because of its backward and negative portrayal of the Indian people. The da Vinci Code was not only boycotted in India, but also, in Vatican City. Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced for a boycott of the film at a conference in 2006 and stated “the movie is full of calumnies, offences, and historical and theological errors.”  Censorship is also seen in fictional settings like dystopia. A few examples include books such as 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In these three books, censorship plays a huge role. The freedoms that exist in today’s reality do not exist at all in the books’ dystopian settings. In the book 1984, we read about Winston Smith and how his job is to rewrite past newspaper articles, so that the historical record always supports the Outer Party’s agenda. The Freedom of Speech is basically nonexistent as anything that anyone says is always under the surveillance of the government and Big Brother. In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, we are presented a future where books are outlawed and firemen who see even a single book, the book is burned. The Handmaid’s Tale discusses themes of women in subjugation to misogyny in a male dominated society and the multiple means by which the women gain independence. Television programs like Black Mirror portray ways of how too many technological freedoms can backfire. In conclusion, it is possible that people are determined to dominate their own views on everyone else, and censor what they do not approve. Censorship is a limitation on people’s freedoms and expressions, and should be seen as a negative aspect to the world. Every person has his or her own freedom of choice, and the usage of censorship against this freedom would violate the right. Bibliography: “Log in.” Britannica Academic, Britannica,, CENTRAL BOARD. “CBFC.” Welcome to CBFC, 27 Dec. 2017,, Ray. Fahrenheit-451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. “MOTION PICTURES ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA.”, MPAA, 2 Jan. 2018,, George. 1984. London. Secker and Warburg, 1949Atwood, Margaret Eleanor. The Handmaid’s Tale. New York: Anchor, 1986. Print.”New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971).” Justia Law, JUSTIALAW, 26 Dec. 2017, “First Amendment and Censorship.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues, 15 Jan. 2018,”Pentagon Papers .” New York Times , NYT, 16 Jan. 2018,