The concept of protecting citizens does not justify media censorship. A free, vibrant press represents one of the best courses to ensure the protection of the liberty, welfare and well-being of people in society. Even the implementation of minimal censorship, under the guise of protecting citizens, sets a government and its people on a slippery slope to ever more significant media control and ultimately an ever increasing loss of freedoms.
No, a government should never censor its citizens. To do so leads to dictatorship. It is imperative that citizens have the ability to express their opinions even if they are controversial. The majority is not always right. If the government imposes censorship on the media, the question of who decides what is and is not acceptable arises. Those in power would be able to stifle opposing opinions.
No, the promise of safety is not worth media censorship. The countries in which censorship is the most severe, such as China and North Korea, are also the ones in which citizens face the largest threat from their governments for such acts as self-expression. Strong governments can withstand criticism from the public and even use it to improve the culture of the country.
The government has no right to censor media even in the interest of protecting citizens. To do so is to violate the constitutional right to free speech. Rather, the government should be more protective of sensitive information that, if leaked and reported by media, could put people in danger. Likewise, the media should exercise discretion when making decisions to report sensitive information.