The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
2 Points

Censorship of the Media during Conflict is necessary.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/2/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,631 times Debate No: 58473
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)




I will be in the Pro position for Censorship of the media. By this I mean that, during wartime or periods of Conflict, it is Necassary for the Government to censor some aspects of the media for the pubic.

1st Round: Acceptance
2nd Round: Main Argument
3rd Round: Rebuttal and Conclusion.

No profanity or personal attacks.

Good Luck to my opponent.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Reason One: To protect future Military plans being discovered

If, for example, a country with a Freedom of Information act was at war with a rogue state or an enemy in general, or under attack by Terrorists. The media could, perhaps, get plans for future pushes or Counter-Terrorist Operations and relay them on air to the public. This could be detrimental to any plans the Military or Government has. This is exactly what happened in Mumbai in 2008, when Terrorists attacked the Taj Mahal Palace. The details of the Counter-Terrorist Operation were relayed in exquisite detail live on air before it happened. This could have dangerously affected the Operation. Also, if, for example, information about a new weapon or vehicle was displayed, and all of the features and specifications noted, the enemy of the country would be in a very good position to produce ways to combat this new advancement. This would be detrimental to the Citizens of the country.

Reason Two: To prevent hysteria.

During the Second World War, censorship was heavily used by Winston Churchill and the British Government. Any losses were covered up, and any victories embellished and well-documented and publicised. This was because the Second World War was as much of a War on morale as anything. With heavy rationing and constant bombing, it would have been easy for riots to ensue and crime to become prevalant. This was stopped by the clever consorship of the Govenment. Without it, panic would have ensued and some Military units would have to be drafted out to control this, which in turn could have caused more rioting. Overall, this would have been detrimental to the war effort.

All in all, Censorship is nescessary to prevent important details being leaked to enemies and to keep the Public feeling safe and confident in their protection.



Pro has the Burden of Proof here since he is affirming the resolution. I will refute his two reasons here and then proceed to provide arguments against censorship. The resolution does apply to all times our nation is in conflict, which is the majority of the time. The video here --> is an interesting look at why we should not resort to media censorship out of fear.

Reason 1: My opponent supplies three points- the freedom of information act, the Mumbai Incident, and plans for new technology. The first point is easily defeated. The Freedom of Information Act has specific exemptions to prevent people from obtaining information that could harm US soldiers, agents, or police.

"Exemption 1: Information that is classified to protect national security. The material must be properly classified under an Executive Order.

Exemption 2: Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.

Exemption 3: Information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law. Additional resources on the use of Exemption 3 can be found on the Department of Justice FOIA resources page.

Exemption 4: Information that concerns business trade secrets or other confidential commercial or financial information.

Exemption 5: Information that concerns communications within or between agencies which are protected by legal privileges, that include but are not limited to:

  1. Attorney-Work Product Privilege
  2. Attorney-Client Privilege
  3. Deliberative Process Privilege
  4. Presidential Communications Privilege

Exemption 6: Information that, if disclosed, would invade another individual's personal privacy.

Exemption 7: Information compiled for law enforcement purposes if one of the following harms would occur. Law enforcement information is exempt if it:

  • 7(A). Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings
  • 7(B). Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication
  • 7(C). Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
  • 7(D). Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source
  • 7(E). Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions
  • 7(F). Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual

Exemption 8: Information that concerns the supervision of financial institutions.

Exemption 9: Geological information on wells."

more exclusions "The first exclusion protects the existence of an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation when the subject of the investigation is unaware that it is pending and disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. The second exclusion is limited to criminal law enforcement agencies and protects the existence of informant records when the informant"s status has not been officially confirmed. The third exclusion is limited to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and protects the existence of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism records when the existence of such records is classified. Records falling within an exclusion are not subject to the requirements of the FOIA." [1]

Pro's arguments are based on the idea that freedom of information means freedom to all information. It doesn't.

Now for the Mumbai attacks. Pro claimed that news stations exposed counter terrorist activities risking lives but provides no evidence or sources for this. After looking through the information on some of the attacks, it seems that Pro has his information backwards. No vital information about the government's information was given out, and none of it was accessed by the public. News stations like CNN and regular Civilians through Twitter and other social media were actually considered incredibly beneficial to the public. Vital information about the terrorist's whereabouts and activities were posted constantly on Twitter and repeatedly shown on CNN warning the general public about the imminent danger [2][3]. One man was able to create a Google map of attack locations to aid citizens in nearby areas as well as counter terrorism forces [4]. One terrorist was captured alive. A major part of his prosecution was a photo obtained by a man with a phone! [5] Pro's arguments are self defeating.

His third point also has no evidence. There is no reason to believe the media will manage to acquire plans like this, it would be incredibly illegal.

None of Pro's arguments are solid. We can easily protect our soldiers and citizens domestic, and overseas without resorting to ignoring the First Amendment.

Arguments Against Media Censorship

My opponent does have the BoP, and I have defeated his arguments, but to go above and beyond I will present several arguments against media censorship.

It's Unconstitutional!

"Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." [7]

Sir William Blackstone explained the implications very well "The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the Revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion and government. But to punish as the law does at present any dangerous or offensive writings, which, when published, shall on a fair and impartial trial be adjudged of a pernicious tendency, is necessary for the preservation of peace and good order, of government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of individuals is still left free: the abuse only of that free will is the object of legal punishment. Neither is any restraint hereby laid upon freedom of thought or inquiry; liberty of private sentiment is still left; the disseminating, or making public, of bad sentiments, destructive to the ends of society, is the crime which society corrects." [6]

We should not be censoring the media! Certain material can be classified for security reasons, and the acquiring of that material is illegal, but under no circumstances can we arbitrarily censor the media out of fear. One of the reasons our nation is so great is because we stand on some fundamental principles of Democracy. One thing that is prevalent in totalitarian countries and absolute monarchies is the use of media censorship.

What happens when we begin to censor legitimate criticism? During the Vietnam war the Administration attempted to give a constant impression of "winning" the war. It wasn't until the media coverage of the Tet offensive that the American public realized the end was not in sight. In a democratic society decisions as important as war should be made by the people, not by a group of people intent on censorship for the sake of their political careers. People have a right to know.


Censorship of the media is a dangerous practice, that is done out of fear. We cannot resort to it. The founding fathers had a very important reason for the first amendment. The "government of the people, by the people, for the people" [8] should never resort to silencing the people. For a truly democratic nation to succeed, and prosper, we cannot face our problems and dangers with fear, but we should resolve to uphold the most important values of our nation. Anything less than that is our defeat.









Debate Round No. 2



I would like to begin with some rebuttal. However, I would like to first point out that in the first round I specified rebuttal was for the third round, but Con chose to ignore this. Ok, let's start.

Most of my opponent's Rebuttal and arguments were based on the US constitution. However, I never specified which Country's Freedom of Speech Act to use. It was a hypothetical statement, and, honestly, there are loopholes in many world constitutions which people could bypass to get information. Therefore, Con's rebuttal and his statement that 'It's Unconstitutional' are rendered completely void. The fact that it's 'Unconstitutional' to the US constitution is irrelevant, as I never stated which country is in question here. Unless Con decides to go through every constitution of every country in the World, his rebuttal will be irrelevant. Also, Con talks of a 'Truly Democratic Society.' I hate to break the Utopian bubble, but there is no such thing as a 'Truly Democratic Society.' Even the US, which Con seems to be basing his arguments on, has term limits, which would not be imposed in a 'Truly Democratic Society.' Therefore, this point is also defeated. Thirdly, I would like to point out that the video Con uses is taken from South Park, a satirical comedy show, highly driven by personal opinion and hardly a reasonable source of information. Now, onto my main arguments.

The Boosting of Morale

Con does not seem to have touched upon the point I made about morale in the Second Round. I will take this opportunity to strengthen my argument.

The London Riots of 2011 were caused by the accidental killing of Mark Duggan by Police in Tottenham. What started as a series of peaceful protests elevated into Riots in which many were killed. The Police was in the process of investigating this incident when the Riots began. These escalated, and, eventually, had nothing to do with the trigger. This is potentially what could happen if some details were not censored during conflict, and what was averted during the Second World War by Winston Churchill.

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I believe I have debunked most of Con's rebuttal and produced stronger points. I urge the floor to vote Pro. Thank you, and I thank my opponent for a good debate.

As above


I'll firstly apologize for presenting rebuttals last round, it was my mistake. I will concede the conduct point if voters feel it is necessary. I request that voters do not just vote for conduct though. If you vote on a debate, you need put precedence on voting on for the arguments presented.

A summary of my opponent's argument: 1. "The fact that it's 'Unconstitutional' to the US constitution is irrelevant, as I never stated which country is in question here." and 2. "honestly, there are loopholes in many world constitutions which people could bypass to get information." 3. "Unless Con decides to go through every constitution of every country in the World, his rebuttal will be irrelevant." 4. "I hate to break the Utopian bubble, but there is no such thing as a 'Truly Democratic Society.'"

I will address each point.
1. The subject at question is whether the media should or should not be censored. My argument was that it is wiser and more ethical to make certain sensitive information classified. The Constitution was a specific example. This provides the necessary safety without resorting to censoring the media.
2. It would be much wiser to amend those loopholes than to censor the media. Pro provides no examples or evidence of these loopholes. It also raises the question of how could a country ensure that similar loopholes did not exist in censuring the media.
3. False. The BoP is on Pro here, I provide a fair example of a better solution. The US constitution shows that censoring the media is not necessary to protect important information. This is a classic shifting of the goal posts. It is up to pro to give evidence that the current system does not work. He has provided no examples or evidence of loopholes in any countries laws.
4. Obviously but if we are to strive for a truly democratic society it is necessary to maintain the freedom of speech.

All refuted. Most were irrelevant in the first place.

Actually during the London riots of 2011, the media initially reported that Mark Duggan had fired on police, which would have dissuaded any riots. This example works against Pro. (

To Prevent Hysteria: A Rebuttal
My opponent is not advocating censorship here, but rather for the proposal I put forth. The government is fine in controlling what information (that is legally in their possession) is distributed to the public and what is not. Deliberately controlling what the media does and does not distribute is downright wrong though. I could propose a dozen counter examples of where censoring the media leads to enormous problems. I will stick with two. Hitler exercised a large amount of control over the media while he was fighting in WW2. He used embellished victories and downplayed losses. This led to dangerous nationalism and the "never surrender" ideology. It also contributed to Hitler being rarely questioned in his own country. ( Censorship unnecessarily extends losing battles and costs millions of lives. North Korea exercises large control over the media. Their leader, Kim Jung Un, is practically worshiped and is unquestioned in all he does. Censorship is a dangerous thing, and is to dangerous to justify.

While censorship may seem beneficial at first, it is important to remember the severe harms it is capable of and is known to cause. My opponent has not come close to fulfilling his Burden of Proof. The only way to vote is Con.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by CJKAllstar 2 years ago

Con lost this debate, and let me break down why. Firstly, whether it is permitted by law is irrelevant. This debate, that of policy, is one which looks to the change the status quo, and change what goes on. Therefore, if it is based on changing the status quo, saying effectively, "it isn't in the status quo" is like saying in a debate about the legalisation of prostitution, "well it isn't legal." The same applies about the fact that it is unconstitutional, and also I would like to see a development of Raymond's own content, not just quotations. Because what he did have in regards to it in the first round had potential, but was ruined by the fact he kept linking to studies, showing sources, but not actually 'arguing' well. There was no why. His first round did something, but his second round was worse. His whole argument became a red herring because he drifted away from the idea of war. The word, "war" was not even in that round. As that is the basis of the resolution, I had to forgo his points when judging. Not to mention that once again, the argument that it is unconstitutional isn't valid because you can't argue against a change in the status quo by saying it isn't in the status quo. There are negatives to censorship, I am personally against it, but you barely scratched the surface seeing as this debate was about wartime, and the crux is centred freedom vs. autonomy in regards to war. What you did have, which was not sourced and actually argued, was to be honest quite truistic. Which would have been overlooked if I could judge based on how you argued, but there was not much of your own. Therefore I had to base it on your points which were quite obvious.

It would have been nice to see Elmarkador develop his points more. His weakness was also a lack of developing his points, but he did it more than yours and his arguments focused on the resolution. He argued for the right thing, in the right way, although very simplistically.

Good arguing from both of
Posted by Elmarkador 2 years ago
Thank you.
Posted by Raymond_Reddington 2 years ago
You can provide the links to the photos in the comments.
Posted by Elmarkador 2 years ago
Oh dear. Pictures didn't work.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
When was the last time we were not in a conflict? And in saying that, and according to your logic, government censorship is the norm and we no longer have freedom of speech.

With such mindset, how easy it is to lose our freedom.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro rebutted in the wrong round. Pro had better sources. Better military + morale vs. possible corrupt government + civilian informants, no clear victor.
Vote Placed by CJKAllstar 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.