The Instigator
TheCiderOfIsaiah
Con (against)
The Contender
SareBare
Pro (for)

Public Media Censorship should be enforced

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 358 times Debate No: 102750
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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TheCiderOfIsaiah

Con

I believe that public media censorship should not be enforced. This is because I believe that every single person on this planet has the right to free speech. And it's not just me saying this. One of the articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that every human is entitled to free expression. Quoting Article Nineteen of the UDHR;

"This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference."

Take the words "without interference", and see how the censorship of international and national public media destroys it.

Not just by censoring opinions people because they may have been cursing or using harsh terms, but just because their points or arguments are too controversial for the public eye to view.

As you can see, public media censorship can go much further than just crossing out a few curse words. It can destroy an entire written opinion into something that might not even make sense after it has been censored. That doesn't sound like something "without interference" now does it?
SareBare

Pro

Hello Isaiah, and thanks for bringing up an interesting topic.

Firstly, I agree with you that every person can and should have a right to free speech, as well as the freedom to hold opinions without interference.

However, there is a distinction between the right to free speech and the right to a platform for that speech. In demanding not only the ability to say whatever you want, but also access to public media as a means to spread that speech, suddenly you're no longer talking about a right but rather, an entitlement.

When speech is shared over any medium--be it national television, a local newspaper, a billboard, etc--you are not merely speaking, but engaging an intermediary to spread that speech for you. Just as we talk about freedom of speech, Article 19 of the constitution guarantees us the right not to speak (https://www.article19.org...). I do not believe that your freedom of speech should override someone else's right not to speak, or not to spread your speech if they so choose.

From a practical standpoint, I think defining "censorship" within the context of public media can be tricky as well. Does editing count as censorship? If the producer of an evening news show has 40 minutes worth of stories to put on the air, but only 20 minutes of actual airtime, should we condemn him/her for choosing only the most interesting/important 20 minutes to show and, say, bumping the feel-good story about cute pandas? Is that censorship? (I'm sure the pandas would think so).

And given that limited time/space exists in most forms of public media, don't editors and producers have to made decisions about what ideas are worthy of that finite resource? If, for example, I write a long op-ed about how I hate pointy-toed shoes (they are not shaped like feet and are thus evil), and encourage everyone to protest the local Macy's until they stop selling the pointy-toed abominations, would an editor be wrong for deciding that maybe that space in the op-ed column might be better used by publishing the opinion of someone who, say, wants to discuss a decision by the local school board? Is that censorship? Depending how loosely you want to define censorship, it could be.

When discussing any form of media, you are always dealing with a limited resource--time, space, even the listener's attention span. Part of the job of the editor/publisher is to act as a gatekeeper and, as in the examples above, determine which stories/information are most worthy of that limited space. This gatekeeper may indeed decide that an op-ed contending that moon landing was faked is not worth their limited resource, and they may similarly conclude that opinion pieces advocating, say, the reinstitution of slavery should be similarly excluded.

Some people don't like this. They argue that any gatekeeping is problematic and could lead to the suppression of valuable, though controversial ideas. But consider the alternative--are we going to agree that a paper is obligated to publish in full any op-ed that anyone sends in? That a news station must air stories about and by anyone within their coverage area? Papers would be much larger than they are now and the local news would have to air continuously on many different channels to keep up with the volume. And in reality, would an unfiltered newspaper be of any sort of value for anyone? I doubt it. It would take too much time to find the substance through all the noise.

If an opinion is not represented in public media, does the individual still have the right to express that idea? Absolutely. He can even make flyers about his idea, blog about it, make t-shirts promoting this idea, and tell strangers in line for coffee at starbucks exactly what he thinks. Just because something is not being represented in the public media does not mean that you have lost your right to free speech, or that your right to hold that opinion is in any way being interrupted.
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Opinionatedcake 2 months ago
Opinionatedcake
Respected sir, I would like to define censorship https://en.oxforddictionaries.com... as "the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security". The argument here is not about freedom of speech in context of spreading it via the media. The censorship here is in regard to that carried out by government, commercial companies and powerful institution to secure their individual interests. Let us take the example of censorship by BBFC https://www.theguardian.com... which shows how some content is restricted in the "so-called' interest of the general public.
Is this not a restriction of an artist? Is this not an imposed "freedom from choice" rather than a "freedom of choice" of an individual to be able to view content he/she desires without "interference"?
Censorship is more than just having less airtime. It is not a refusal to give platform but a suppression of art which already has the platform (Film, media, broadcasting) in the "interest" of public determined by a few individuals but not the Public.
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