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The Role of Censorship in Society

Censorship is an authoritative–social tool that is used to restrict the production and exposition of the controversial, obscene and confined material and content in any society.  Whenever the word of censorship becomes the part of discussion the concepts of restriction, limitations, ignorance related to sex, nudity, violence, abusive language and taboos comes in our mind. It is debatable issue since time of Athens and Romans who have some social context, till 21th century postmodern time. In old bookish terminologies,  it is one of the best ever tool to maintain the social stability as  well as ethical ,moral and religious values in society because root of  most of conflicts are aforementioned contents such as Muslim and western world conflict and child psychology. But on the other hand, this tool directly performs the intolerable crime of killing of its antithetical concept “freedom”. Freedom is also a word which directly relates to the man and throughout the history man fights for it. While Censorship has been confined the concept of freedom of speech, expression and thought that is totally insufferable for this liberal and modern word.

Censorship is like two edges sword, has different approaches according to many critics. Some raise their voices in the favor of it and some directly consider as a big hurdle in the way of critical thinking and evaluation. Those who talk about the positive lopes of censorship base their considerations on two basic perspectives: social stability and children psychology and their mental development. Since future of every society or nation relies solely on our new generation  it becomes vital for authorities to set such kind of rules and regulations which are directly helpful in prevalence and maintenance of positivity in every field of life and its related content. Although censorship boards of every society just formulate or evaluate different laws and polices concerning violated and abusive content but the fault lies in the execution and implementation of these documented work which appears as myth until now.

This 21th century is an era of human life in which in every second, world is moving  towards superfast  transformation and technological development such as internet, due to which concept of global village about the world  is more authenticated. On this fastest source of information and news, considerations of censorship are directly or indirectly manipulated. Many films, TV reality shows , dramas and even games have such kinds of abusive , violated , sexual and restricted content and scripts that directly  produce adverse effects on the little but critical  brains of societies that lead them towards the psychological problems and become the cause of production of social evils. Its mean censorship boards don’t perform their duty well due to which the result is perilous. There are big examples of the bad performance of censorship boards which can easily evaluate from the E-site such as YouTube, Google, Daily motion etc. They have every kind of content in their sites, no doubt it is necessary for the awareness but the process of limitation for viewers is not effective and authentic. Just giving the tag of 18+ or requirement of the e-mail address is not enough. Can these censorship policies and so called rules save the child from negativity? Of course not! Moreover, many kinds of VPNs and   proxies are also available on internet to get the access. A slap on the so called protection!

Another aspect which causes a big problem is to justify itself to freedom. They directly affect each other and cannot be separated from each other. In this liberal world everyone has a right to speak, express and think according to own will, wish and requirements but censorship spoiled this ideology. Although it is a undeniable fact that sex, nudity, abusive language and its content and taboos  are part of every society either it is well civilized or in process of it . We cannot kick off these aspects which are apparently hidden from the visual eyes but secretly, more visible in intellects. But problem is its exposure which is cramped by the so called censorship.
Censorship has also lost its value in the eyes of intellectual people due to authoritative and political invade in its decision making power. Its means they treacherously try to convert the freedom loving critics into a puppet by keeping them into ignorance about controversial content. A huge list of literature have become the prey of the censorship: Orwell’s literary work is a big example of it and restrictions that are formulated over the media in last decades of the Pakistan history especially during the ruling of dictators. According to many critics censorship leads the man towards the ignorance. It is fact, because the censored and banned contents are basic burning issues of every society. When these restricted concepts are not discussed or evaluated by critics or not become the talk of public, how we can coin the solutions of these issues and lead our society towards better reformed community. It means to ignore any thing is not a solution of any problem or issue such as the issue of prostitution, forced sex, lesbian and gays etc. Manto the great Urdu fiction writer is ever green example of it who always tried hard to show the horrible but real face of the society that was hidden under the many treacherous covers .In addition to it, many people use the mask of religion as a weapon to justify their arguments about censorship but they fail to provide complete rationalization about it. Reason is that every religion is totally based on nature of man and its different aspects, so discussion is the only solution.

 In a nutshell, censorship is myth. The formulation of its rules and regulations is an easy process as compare to its implementation in right way. Freedom and censorship are although antithetical concepts but the limitation of everything is good in every field because extremity leads towards disturbance. These both ideologies need to be re-defined and explained according to social, ethical and political demands of target society because social stability, freedom of every individual and young generation are key pillars of development of well-established society.

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Attia Rasool is a critical thinker and a writer based in Lahore. MPhil in Applied Linguistics, the forte of her write-ups is critical discourse analysis.

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