The Instigator
Shtookah
Con (against)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
feverish
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points

Censorship

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,290 times Debate No: 13714
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (6)

 

Shtookah

Con

"Censorship: Is suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body."
(Wiki definition)

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."- Noam Chomsky

"Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them."- Mark Twain

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." - Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court


It is my belief that censorship is wrong and is a direct violation to the first amendment of our constitution. Never is it necessary to restrict a persons right of free speech. (That includes hate speech) Even kids in kindergarten know that censorship is insensible.. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." In addition to my claim of censorship being wrong and constitutional, I also would like to make the argument that I blockades societal progression. More specifically religion vs. science.. Censoring intelligence.. Despite it's good intentions, censorship has sincerely proven to be the wrong way to fight hatred. Needless to say, I await for someone to take me up on my debate and represent censorship and why It is good and under what grounds it is by any means constitutional.

Sources:
(Religion vs science censorship)
http://www.evolutionnews.org...
http://richarddawkins.net...

(Internet censorship)
http://www.greenleft.org.au...

(Clarification on my claim on why censorship is the wrong way to combat hatred)
http://www.aclufl.org...
feverish

Pro

Thanks Shtookah for setting up this debate, it seems we agree on a great deal (92.8% BIG issues), but that this particular topic provides some scope for discussion.

Con is the instigator here and bears the burden of proving that censorship is always wrong.

As Pro, my burden will be to provide examples of occasions where censorship is a necessary and/or appropriate course of action.

I accept Con's definition and also hope that he understands that I am not really interested in debating the constitutional significance of censorship. As a UK citizen, my knowledge of the US constitution is sparse, and I certainly don't derive any moral imperative from its contents.

________

Like my opponent, I am generally an advocate of freedom of expression, I think that the majority of censorship is unnecessary and counter-productive to society. However I do feel that certain material within certain contexts is inappropriate and harmful, and that some level of censorship is entirely justified.

Child pornography is perhaps the clearest and most obvious example of data that ought to be suppressed, along with snuff films and the like. Clearly the illegality of producing such material doesn't prevent its production, and sadly there is certainly a market for it. Uncensored outlets for such images would certainly lead to more of it being made. I challenge my opponent to defend his anti-censorship stance within such contexts.

While I can agree with Con that (as long as nobody is being harmed) the government should not censor, his inclusion of "media outlets" makes little sense to me. An independent media group has the right to suppress any material it wants to, and should have full creative control of its own content.

If an artist wishes to censor themselves, for example by releasing a radio edit, "clean" version of a track, with certain words edited out, in order to appeal to a wider audience, should they not be allowed to do so?

Out of characters.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 1
Shtookah

Con

My opponent asks two things of me.
1. Shouldn't censorship be necessary for things such as child pornography?
2. If an artist wishes to censor themselves shouldn't they be allowed to?

My answer to his first question.. Although I am unaware of the age of consent laws in the U.K., child pornography much less children having sex in the states is illegal. Anything posted of REAL (mind the emphases on REAL) activity of illegal actions that would be considered a federal crime such as child pornography isn't really in the realm of being censored or not, it's simply not even within the question.
Proof/Source on subject: http://www.missingkids.com...

Secondly, to pro's question regarding artists having the ability to censor themselves or not, I wish to yield to my previously defined term of "censorship". "Censorship: Is suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a GOVERNMENT, MEDIA OUTLET, or other CONTROLLING BODY." Note my capitalized terms that I chose to highlight in the previous quote. You see what an artist does with his or her own work would be editing under free will of choice to do so and not censorship committed by a 2nd party or a controlling body. If an artist chose to make a "clean" version of a track by his or her own choosing, it would be an act of editing and free will, not censorship or restriction.

Unless pro can find more loop wholes in the case for censorship, I'm afraid him and I are on the very same page along the lines of freedom of expression and free speech. That being said, until pro can make a case for censorship being a form of necessity, I feel my argument has most defiantly outweighed his case thus so far leaving me victorious in this little feud.

For further reference: Here is the ACLU declaring censorship as unconstitutional.
http://www.aclu.org...
feverish

Pro

Thanks Shtooka.

Con: "Anything posted of REAL (mind the emphases on REAL) activity of illegal actions that would be considered a federal crime such as child pornography isn't really in the realm of being censored or not, it's simply not even within the question."

Why not?

Looking back to our definition, the legality of the materials is not mentioned at all and it is just this kind of media that ought to be suppressed because it is indeed harmful. As I said before, the laws do not successfully prevent such material being produced, and since it exists, the government is absolutely right to censor it, as my opponent appears to agree.

The definition Con supplied is from this wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org... which acknowledges the censorship of child porn in the first paragraph of the "rationale" section. Google censor child porn too: http://www.timesonline.co.uk...

Certain kinds of hate speech are illegal in the UK, which is partly why I feel it should be censored in certain contexts, see here: http://www.debate.org...

Regarding self-censorship, I'm glad my opponent agrees that it is acceptable and I won't attempt a semantic argument on whether or not an artist in this situation would qualify as a "controlling body".

Far more significant is the point that Con has not responded to, that independent media outlets should have freedom to censor their own content as they see fit. http://people-press.org... http://www.fair.org... http://www.freemuse.org...

So far my opponent seems to have conceded that images of illegal acts should be censored, that artists can censor themselves and doesn't seem to have a response as to whether independent media outlets should have the same freedom he wants to grant to artists. I think this negates the resolution.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 2
Shtookah

Con

For clarification of my quote, "Anything posted of REAL (mind the emphases on REAL) activity of illegal actions that would be considered a federal crime such as child pornography isn't really in the realm of being censored or not, it's simply not even within the question.", the reasoning behind this is that of which it is a federal crime. Being a federal crime generally excepts the ideal principal that the vast majority see's it to be wrong and without question filtered. However, because this action is done out of the will of the vast majority of people, it would not be considered censorship because of its highly undemocratic characteristic.

Now, my opponent brings into the light of how the UK has treated certain kinds of hate speech causing him to rather agree with their actions. First of all, I hypocritically applaud the UK for banning Michael Savage and his arrogant racist bigotry. Unfortunately I feel it's the wrong approach by a government to blacklist an ideology. Even IF that said ideology was racist, hateful, and outright false. I guess this would be a reflection of me living in my country as well. You see we have a party here in our country that is hateful and outright false all the time but we as a nation do nothing to restrict there speech because we feel it is their democratic right, to speak their minds. I'm talking of course about the republican party. (zing)

Needless to say that just because I feel these parties should have protected speech does not mean that I feel that they should be above the law. Its really just a matter of free speech, press and assembly. If these particular parties actually commit acts of hate than that's another story.

Seems we've stumbled upon a semantics debate. It really comes down to what you view censorship as. For me, censorship is the restriction of speech, press etc. committed by a 2nd party to a specific group or persons against their will. Pro believes censorship can be an act of voluntarism.
feverish

Pro

Thanks Shtookah for a thought-provoking debate.

<"Being a federal crime generally excepts the ideal principal that the vast majority see's it to be wrong"

It actually reflects the fact that the government see it as wrong; Governments create laws, not the general public.

<"because this action is done out of the will of the vast majority of people, it would not be considered censorship because of its highly undemocratic characteristic."

Anything a democratically elected government does is technically democratic, including censorship.

___

<"I feel it's the wrong approach by a government to blacklist an ideology."

No ideology is blacklisted by UK hate speech laws, (see sources in debate I linked above,) it's legal to be a bigot, it's only when you start encouraging others to perform violence that you break the laws. Con wants politicians speech protected, but would this still be the case if a party openly preached a doctrine of murder or genocide?

Free speech laws don't and shouldn't protect those who commit fraud through verbal dishonesty, those who shout out "bomb!" in a crowded airport, or those who incite violence and hate.

___

<"Seems we've stumbled upon a semantics debate. It really comes down to what you view censorship as. For me, censorship is the restriction of speech, press etc. committed by a 2nd party to a specific group or persons against their will. Pro believes censorship can be an act of voluntarism."

The definition we have is indeed a very broad one. Suppression of harmful material by the government would clearly include child porn etc., while "media outlets" suggests it covers voluntary self-censorship.

Since Con supplied the definition himself and is in favour of both of these forms of censorship, it seems he has conceded his position as Con towards the resolution. If he wanted to limit the debate to exterior, enforced censorship of legal activity, he should really have made it clear at the outset.

Thanks.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
haha yeah I kinda tried out putting the sources at end just outta pure laziness. Also would explain the 2,000 characters limit, I'm sorry bout that just got really lazy after my last debate.
Posted by feverish 6 years ago
feverish
Hey Shtookah, I found your links interesting, but it's a little difficult to address them in the debate, when it's not clear what argument of yours they're supposed to be supporting.
Posted by feverish 6 years ago
feverish
Told myself I didn't have time to debate right now but this was just too tempting. Hopefully I will be able to put in enough time to do it justice, at least the low character limit should prevent me from getting carried away.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
Darn you Feverish, I would have loved this one.
Posted by ChristianM 6 years ago
ChristianM
Lol @ the laundry list of sources.
Posted by salve 6 years ago
salve
Do you expect Con to defend censorship in all cases or just pick one case in which censorship is right?
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
ShtookahfeverishTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Sour es validate great arguments.
Vote Placed by Volkov 5 years ago
Volkov
ShtookahfeverishTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The argument clearly went for feverish in the end with Con's admission of favourability for certain forms of censorship. That's the clearest indication of a won argument. And hey, won of my debates got linked - kudos for that!
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
ShtookahfeverishTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The definition used includes media outlets suppressing material that would offend the general public, presumably so that the viewers won't be reluctant to watch. This would include gory traffic accident and crime scenes. child porn is illegal, but if there were no censorship then it wouldn't be, so that's within the debate topic. Arguments to Pro.
Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
ShtookahfeverishTied
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Vote Placed by ittastenasty 6 years ago
ittastenasty
ShtookahfeverishTied
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Vote Placed by ThatGuyWithAFace 6 years ago
ThatGuyWithAFace
ShtookahfeverishTied
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