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Q: You know what the worst part of censorship is?
A:  * ****** *******, * ***** *****!

What is censorship?

Suppressing communication or media

Types of items censored

 Information Items
 Radio Books
 Films Magazines/Comics
 Music Games
 Maps Clothes
 Internet Toys

Two forms of censorship

  1. An outright ban.
  2. Ratings or other limitations enforced at distribution point.

Three levels of censorship

  • The Government 
  • The distributor/broadcaster
  • The end user

Reason items are censored

  • Violence (trivialising and stylising)
  • Swearing
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Demeaning (to elderly, women etc)
  • Obscenity
  • Frightening and distressing children
  • Shocking
  • Immoral
  • National security
  • Restrict political views
  • Prevent slander and libel

Moral panic

Psychologists use this term to for things that are put forward by moral crusaders to explain moral decline and violent crime in society.
Moral panics have included rock music, video games, video nasties and porn.
Violence is actually decreasing in our society according to statistics which people ignore for emotional reasons because they are primed by the media.

Quote 852

All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.

   --  John Stuart Mill

Attitudes to censorship

"Freedom is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear" - George Orwell

People do so love being told what they can watch, eat, wear etc for their own good. Just try it on someone and see how they react.
Funnily enough people don't seem to mind censorship when it applies to what others want. But then seem surprised when no-one supports them when they want a censorship removed.

Governments attitude

  • Is patronising the viewer
  • It is part of a ban / regulate / manipulate / control attitude that the government has to everything that once we were free to choose.


It seems there are two main motives of censorship.
1) To protect the public from ideas
2) To protect the rulers from the public
  • Looking back on the history of censorship shows us that it is led by political fashion and in the most part seems quaint.
  • What do the censors think they are protecting us from? If children need protection the current system does this adequately. So far as sexuality is concerned it is the adults protecting themselves from embarrassment rather than any harm children might suffer
  • Censorship historically has shown a lot in common with the hysterical witch-hunt’s of old.
  • Censorship is just wrong. Because, regardless of what is being censored, censorship is simply imposing one's morality on others.

Is it o.k to take offence by proxy?

What's wrong with censorship?

Oppression is not hearing a word that offends you.
Oppression is being told you can't say certain words because you may offend someone else.
Should something be censored? Under what criteria should something be censored, and who decides.
Where do they get this right to censor things? 
When done right the power of censorship may be argued to have modest benefits. But when the administration falls in the hands of a leader that you disagree vehemently with, do you want them to inherent this power? Trump, Hitler, Stalin, Mao? (Two elected leaders and 2 revolutionary ones).

If it is assumed that someone or group should have the power to censor, and if its decided that certain things should be censored.
How to they target and enforce that censorship. Do they censor all books to avoid a few books that may have subversive language, just censor that particular book or something in between. The first option would have huge collateral damage and the 3rd option a lesser degree of the same problem.
Could they target domestic websites with subversive language, but have no jurisdiction over foreign websites. Or perhaps censoring books but not the web. Making the censorship ineffective.?

Censorship is inconsistent with a liberal society.

Just because people don't want to hear something, they are not entitled to gag others.

How did we progress from a country where gays are prosecuted to one where they are treated as equal? Because people were free to dissent. Censorship undermines this process.
Those who stamp on minority opinions have always presented themselves as protectors of society. In reality, they are enemies of freedom.

What is really censored

Why is it necessary that we all live in protective bubble? A ban on advertising applies to everyone, that means you. The fact that you may not want to advertise is irrelevant, you can't choose to do it if you did want to do it. Effectively what has been banned is your ability to act, not just the advertising.
The same goes for anything that is banned, its not the item, or action that is banned, it is you that are banned from acting out your conscience.

Censorship breaches 2 rights not just 1. A right to speak and aright to listen. Both the speaker and the audience are affected.

Perverse effects

  • Every form of prohibition just creates another underworld. 'Nough said!
  • Censorship is worse than the items or actions censored.
  • Police time may be diverted from more important crimes to censorship issues.


  • Where individual liberties start and end?
  • “Bottom line for me is, I pay the bill and I should decide what services I want to opt into and not ring us our call centre, try and explain what I want and eventually get it turned off.”
Censorship deprives each individual of the capacity to decide good and evil, being surrendered to an appointed authority.


Would you rather live in a society where we are allowed to make our own mistakes than one where the government bans everything deemed to be unsuitable for us. In a free society, you are free to make mistakes.


"The case against inviting the BNP (racist party) to appear on Question Time(tv program) is a case for censorship."

Defamation and the law prohibiting conspiracy to commit murder are not a curtailment of free speech. Please see those sections for more detail.

List of books censored by year

2013: The Everything Marijuana Book
2013: Here's Steve
2013: Boys Are Boys
2010: Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture 8th Edition
2009: Pleasant Dripping with Sweat
2000: Holiday Snapshots
2000: Eros XXX Women
1999: Topping from Below
1999: Indoor Marijuana Horticulture
1999: Marijuana Botany

Countries that outlaw criticising rulers

Moroccan law prohibits criticising the king, with a possible penalty of up to five years in prison for anyone who does so.

Censoring fake news

When the cost of publishing falls, the quantity of news published goes up. This produces more genuine and fake news.
WHo will decide what is false. A judge? Poliiticians? A bureacrat? Can they and are they neutral? Are they competant? Are they fallible?
Do governments pedal fake news?
Do we want the government to ahve a monopily on what news is the truth?
Progress in ideas is made by competition. Excluding some ideas reduces that competiiton.

In both justice and science, you dont want to be stuck with a wrong theory or suspect. When you ahve a wrong suspect or theory, you find another. The same is in news, you need to have alternate news to fidn the best model.
A free market in ideas, stops groups controlling the narrative.
Removing fake news, gives readers a false sense of security that the remaining news is accurate.Filtering needs to happen at the reader level always.

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