posted on Jun, 6 2004 @ 07:39 PM
Since, it seems nobody has a clue - here you go.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary online defines censorship as
1 a the institution, system, or practice of censoring and censor (verb) as
to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable
Academic American Encyclopedia from Prodigy on-line
Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether
government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, or speakers, writers, and artists themselves. It may take place at any point in
time, whether before an utterance occurs, prior to its widespread circulation, or by punishment of commincators after dissemination of their messages,
so as to deter others from like expression. In its narrower, more legalistic sense, censorship means only the prevention by official government action
of the circulation of messages already produced. Thus writers who "censor" themselves before putting words on paper, for fear of failing to sell
their work, are not engaging in censorship in this narrower sense, or are those who boycott sponsors of disliked television shows. Yet all of these
restraints have the effect of limiting the diversity that would otherwise be available in the marketplace of ideas and so may be considered censorship
in its broadest sense.
There are almost as many justifications offered for the suppression of communication as there are would-be censors, but at root the motivation is
always the same. It is a fear that the expression, if not curtailed, will do harm to individuals in its audience, or to society as a whole. Thus
so-called obscene material is attacked because of a fear that it will corrupt personal morality or perhaps even lead to deviant sexual acts. School
textbooks and library materials are sought to be purged by groups who fear that they may inculcate subversive values in children. Information
concerning national security is controlled by government, with particular severity in wartime, for fear that its revelation may aid an enemy. In the
judicial system, pretrial publicity about a crime may jeopardize a fair trial. Publication of personal information by police (such as the names of
rape victims) or by the press (such as one's sexual preferences) may seriously intrude on one's right to privacy. The fear of such consequences,
real or imagined, is what drives the censorial impulse.
Censorship has been practiced in both the narrower and the broader senses as long as there have been organized cultures. Those societies which have
been most confident of their principles and of the loyalty of their members have allowed the greatest freedom from censorship, for they have been the
least fearful of the consequences of dissent. In societies whose values have not been fully accepted by their people or whose leadership rests on
shaky foundations, the heaviest hand of censorship has fallen. The relative prevalence of censorship is one of the features that has most
distinguished autocratic from democratic societies and is most obvious in the thorough going preventive censorship practiced today in nations such as
Communist Albania. Nevertheless, even the freest of nations find some forms of censorship necessary.