In some countries, television and radio programs are carefully censored for offensive language and behavior. In other countries, there is little or no censorship.

In your view, to what extent should government or any other group be able to censor television or radio programs? Explain, giving relevant reasons and/or examples to support your position.

The extent to which the broadcast media should be censored for offensive language and behavior involves a conflict between our right of free speech and the duty of the government to protect its citizenry from potential harm. In my view, our societal interest in preventing the harm that exposure to obscenity produces takes precedence over the rights of individuals to broadcast this type of content.

First of all, I believe that exposure to obscene and offensive language and behavior does indeed cause similar behavior on the part of those who are exposed to it. Although we may not have conclusive scientific evidence of a cause-effect relationship, ample anecdotal evidence establishes a significant correlation. Moreover, both common sense and our experiences with children inform us that people tend to mimic the language and behavior they are exposed to.

Secondly, I believe that obscene and offensive behavior is indeed harmful to a society. The harm it produces is, in my view, both palpable and profound. For the individual, it has a debasing impact on vital human relationships; for the society, it promotes a tendency toward immoral and antisocial behavior. Both outcomes, in turn, tear apart the social fabric that holds a society together.

Those who advocate unbridled individual expression might point out that the right of free speech is intrinsic to a democracy and necessary to its survival. Even so, this right is not absolute, nor is it the most critical element. In my assessment, the interests served by restricting obscenity in broadcast media are, on balance, more crucial to the survival of a society. Advocates of free expression might also point out difficulties in defining “obscene” or “offensive” language or behavior. But in my view, however difficult it may be to agree on standards, the effort is worthwhile.

In sum, it is in our best interest as a society for the government to censor broadcast media for obscene and offensive language and behavior. Exposure to such media content tends to harm society and its citizenry in ways that are worth preventing, even in light of the resulting infringement of our right of free expression.

Peer Review: on a scale of 1-6, how would you rate this essay? Please post your ratings in the comments below!

Leave a Reply