Think about the following statement: "The books that the world call immoral are books that show the world it's own shame."- Oscar Wilde
Write an essay (400 words) stating your opinion on whether or not material should be censored in the US.
Material should not be censored in the US. Censorship is defined as suppressing or removing anything deemed objectionable. Censorship occurs when individuals or groups try to prevent others from saying, printing, or depicting words and images.
Censorship seeks to limit freedom of thought and expression by restricting spoken words, printed matter, symbolic messages, freedom of association, books, art, music, movies, television programs, and Internet sites. When the government engages in censorship, First Amendment freedoms are implicated.
Freedom of speech and press are not, however, absolute. Censorship in the United States involves the suppression of speech or public communication and raises issues of freedom of speech, which is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment protects against censorship imposed by law, but does not protect against corporate censorship, the restraint of speech of spokespersons, employees, or business associates by threatening monetary loss, loss of employment, or loss of access to the marketplace. Determining when defamatory words may be censored has proved to be difficult for the Court, which has allowed greater freedom in remarks made about public figures than those concerning private individuals.
In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), the Court held that words can be libelous (written) or slanderous (spoken) in the case of public officials only if they involve actual malice or publication with knowledge of falsehood or reckless disregard for the truth. Lampooning has generally been protected by the Court.
In Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988), for example, the Court held that the magazine had not slandered Rev. Jerry Falwell by publishing an outrageous “advertisement” containing a caricature of him because it was presented as parody rather than truth.
Racial epithets and ethnic derisions have traditionally been unprotected under the umbrella of “fighting words.” Since the backlash against so-called political correctness, however, liberals and conservatives have fought over what derogatory words may be censored and which are protected by the First Amendment.
In Miller v. California(1973), the Burger Court finally adopted a test that elaborated on the standards established in Roth v. United States(1957). Miller defines obscenity by outlining three conditions for jurors to consider:
· “(a) whether the ‘average person, applying contemporary community standards,’ would find that the work taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest;
· (b) whether the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable state law; and
· (c) whether the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”