Why Is Censorship Bad?

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The debate about censorship offers many explanations for why censoring a person’s words is a bad thing that negatively affects the society as a whole. The American Civil Liberties Union defines censorship as “the suppression of words, images or ideas that are ‘offensive’,” and censorship occurs whenever one group or individual is successful in promoting its ideologies while suppressing another.

Censorship is considered a bad thing because many people believe that it tries to keep others from learning the truth. Individuals who offer this critique of censorship fear that the government censors information that comes in from other countries to keep Americans ignorant about world affairs that might make the United States look bad. The ACLU notes that censorship is bad because it violates the First Amendment, which is the right to freedom of speech. Censorship may change the meaning of what a person is trying to communicate, thus infringing on his rights. According to Target GD/PI, some people believe that censorship is necessary in certain circumstances. For example, television programs are censored for nudity and foul language to protect children and other vulnerable groups. Many of these people also believe that violent content should be censored because it desensitizes the viewer to violence.