Ever walked into a music store and seen those parental advisory stickers on most of today’s popular music? Or noticed those television ratings on the top left corner of one’s favorite shows? How about the ratings on one’s favorite video games? How do these so-called harmless stickers and images affect the world of entertainment and the freedom of expression? The government alone is not the only responsible party to blame for censoring or even banning certain shows, music, and games. Parent organizations also play a role with influencing what is and is not censored. A recent craze to promote "family values" in the United States has caused censorship panels to go entirely too far with the censorship of the entertainment industry including television, radio, the Internet, and even authors.
Not only do the customers suffer by having parental bans on their favorite music, but the musicians suffer as well. The musicians are betrayed by their own labels, which are there to support them, not harm them. The world of music is basically a collage of the artist's thoughts, so banning what they write is a violation of their freedom of speech (Crowley, 1). One of those artists, a three time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow released her self-titled album to her many awaiting fans in 1996. When her fans went to their local Wal-Mart to obtain a copy of her album, they were denied the purchase of the album because of the contents in the lyrics (Family-Friendly, 76). Wal-Mart said the lyrics were offensive and argued that Crow, and her record label change the offensive lyrics (Family-Friendly, 76). When Crow and her label refused to change the lyrics; Wal-Mart and many other large-retail stores refused to sell her album. (Family-Friendly, 76). Not only has censorship affected Crow, but also other artists who refuse to change their lyrics because ultimately it affects their financial status.
Not only has censorship affected the music industry, but also journalists and magazine producers as well. In 1986 Wal-Mart stopped the sales of various rock magazines, including Creem and Rolling Stones (Family-Friendly, 76). Wal-Mart argued that the magazines conflicted with the family oriented atmosphere they tried to maintain. The same applied to the sale of Compact Disc with parental advisories. Wal-Mart and most large retail stores similar would not sell any parental advisories compact discs. Therefore, these stores have decided to clean up those compact discs before putting them on the shelves, altering them in many ways to get rid of the so-called explicit lyrics (Crowley, 1). So both the consumer’s and musician’s freedom of speech and expression are being violated. The government declines to lessen censorship because it is their strict laws on music that lead to such discriminatory actions.
Not only has the music and magazine industries suffered, but so has the television industry. In January of 1997, the television industry began rating television shows to designate which...