History and Recent Events of Censorship

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History and Recent Events of Censorship

The aim of this report is to research the history and recent events of

censorship. I shall look at examples and consider people's opinions. I

want to learn about how people dealt with censorship. I visited the

local library and used the internet and my own knowledge to gain

information about censorship.

WHAT IS CENSORSHIP?

Censorship is the act of suppressing publications, films, television

programmes, plays, and letters that are considered to be obscene,

blasphemous or politically unacceptable. A person with the authority

to carry out this activity is called a censor. There are many forms of

censorship: books can be banned or cut, newspapers can have articles

withdrawn, and plays are not given licenses and therefore cannot be

performed. In some countries, where people are punished for their

religious or political beliefs, they are often subject to censorship

and banned from speaking in public or publishing their writings. There

are arguments for and against censorship.

'The ultimate form of censorship is death' George Bernard Shaw, Irish

playwright, 1911

AN EXAMPLE OF CENSORSHIP (political)

This example of censorship took place in South Africa. For most of the

twentieth century South Africa was ruled by a white government, even

though most of the population was black. For most of this time the

white government operated a system called apartheid (apartness), in

which black people were considered to be second class citizens and

were not given the same rights as whites. Under a law passed in 1950

the government had the power to 'ban' people who expressed views

opposed to apartheid. Under the banning order, the person in question

could not be quoted in any way. Writers who disagreed with the

government's racist policies would not find a publisher in South

Africa.

CENSORSHIP IN WARTIME

The British invented military censorship in 1856, after critical

reports appeared in The Times about the war against Russia in the

Crimea. This negative publicity helped to bring down the government of

the day.
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