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Censorship In The Media Essay

1600 words - 6 pages

The parameters of the term censorship have been changed and manipulated very much over the years. Television and movie ratings have become more lenient against violence and indiscretion because these things are now seen as entertainment. Is this appropriate for our youth? Should children be exposed to these images so early on? How does censorship in the media affect adolescents? Children are the future of our society and need to have some understanding of real world occurrences. Ultimately, censorship can only be determined by the parents. The media cannot filter every bit of controversial images. What rights does the media have in this situation? How are their First Amendment rights applied here? As an aspiring political science major, the First Amendment is of particular interest to me. How it is applied in different conditions is usually set by precedent, but times have certainly changed as the media has. Censorship is a very prominent issue in today’s world. Children’s minds are easily manipulated and sometimes are not capable of understanding the difference between reality and fiction. Censorship is a necessary vice, but the ones really in control, no matter which way you spin it, are the child’s parents.
Between the start of television and films and today, many changes have been made to the definition of censorship. Censorship is not a new entity. It has been in existence since the Roman Empire, although they used it more so in the context of stifling any expression believed to threaten political or social order. “The term censorship comes from the Latin, censere "to give as one's opinion, to assess." The Roman censors were magistrates who took the census count and served as assessors and inspectors of morals and conduct (Culture Shock).” Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, or speakers, writers, and artists themselves. Some see this as the denial of an individual’s freedom of speech.
In order to establish a group that censors televisions and movies, the Motion Picture Producers Association (MPAA) was created. Each rating category has a description of the appropriate age at which to view the film and whether or not a parent’s accompaniment is necessary. The Motion Picture Producers Association assesses a film and gives it a rating of G (general audiences), PG (parental guidance suggested), PG-13 (parents strongly cautioned), R (restricted), or NC-17 (no one under seventeen admitted). As the film industry has been changing over time, so have the ratings. More and more parents are having issues with the ratings that some films are issued. “The man behind the ratings, Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), says the system works just fine. ‘Parents use it and trust it, and that's why it's lasted...

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