Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Is Censorship a Dying Action?

We’ve talked about censorship a lot in class. Every country has or has had censorship with the media at some point in time. I find it fascinating that other countries still have major censorship while America has moved on and now embraces the lack of censorship in some cases.

For example, in America’s past, there was a lot of censorship during times of war. Although we have not lived through those censored times, propaganda filled the media. We learn about books and movies that were used as propaganda all of the time in school. We even learn about books that were banned because they were censored in order to not send the wrong message.

Other countries are still doing this today, which says a lot about the progression of society in various countries. For example, today, places like Venezuela and Colombia still have censorship in their telenovelas. The telenovelas represent their country in ways that either shed a bad light on themselves or censor aspects that could go against certain political views. I think it’s important to note why this is still happening in certain countries when it has basically stopped in America.

America is a democratic country with citizen privileges and rights. However, other countries still don’t have that, and that means a lot. Other countries still don’t allow their citizens to even get news. Telenovelas are a huge part of the culture of Spanish speaking countries, yet people watching those telenovelas don’t even know what they are missing due to censorship.

As times change, so will telenovelas. We have learned in class about the consumption of telenovelas, and that has to do, in part, with what is going on in the country at the time. If a place like Mexico has a lot of issues with alcoholism, then the telenovela might reflect those issues. However, when it comes to political issues with dictatorships, some telenovelas will not address those political problems because their government won’t let them. 

This is happening all over the world, not just in Spanish speaking countries. For example, North Korea still has major censorship on every single aspect of a person’s daily life. Although many countries have outgrown major censorship, there are countries that still have a little or a lot of censorship depending on what part in the world is being talked about.

The question I have is, will censorship ever stop? Americans have grown out of it with very little to no censorship at all. Now, Americans even make fun of the propaganda that used to be used during times of war. Will telenovelas ever truly be free from censorship? I think as time progresses, censorship will begin to disappear more and more just as it has in America.

In conclusion, is censorship a bad thing? No. Is it a good thing? No. But, it does keep a country’s citizens out of the loop of a culture that they are supposed to be living.


  1. Taylor, your insights on worldwide censorship are very intriguing. I agree that this issue is greatly influential in people's everyday lives, and although censorship is more rare than it once was, the international community still has a lot of work to do as far as eliminating it from the planet.

    However, I would like to note that censorship does not necessarily indicate a society or nation's progression. The Venezuelan people have probably never been as free as the American population, but the government was not always malicious. Unfortunately, censorship is caused by corruption, not a lack of competency or social progress.

    Fear only needs one creator. In other words, one powerful figure can turn a democratic country into a dictatorship colony. Hugo Chavez was not brought up to become power hungry because he lived in Venezuela; Chavez got lost in his own fantasies and delusions because of his unique life experiences and personality.

    We, as privileged Americans, should not discount other countries simply due to their government status. It is not the fault of the people, but of the leader and the system, that causes censorship and other forms of human rights issues. Americans are NOT immune to censorship - it would be surprising to find a government-censored media channel, but it could become a reality all too soon depending on our next president or congressional body. Censorship should never be forgotten or thought of as a thing of the past, or it could come back to haunt us in another form.

  2. Interesting post Taylor! I really appreciated it. And Claire, your comment on the post gave me a new perspective, so thank you both!

    My reaction to this post is that I think that censorship, on a very very small scale compared to others, still lives on here in America. Like I said, on a small scale but it is evident in books that are still banned from schools, in "edited" versions of books, etc. News for example, what guarantees that we're getting 100% of the truth delivered to us form a specific source? Nothing really. We're not guaranteed that. I think that in other countries like Venezuela censorship is more apparent. This makes me think back to something Dr. A said once, where she said that the news will run in Venezuela and it'll say that everything is great but there are riots breaking out on the streets- but still everything is "great." Here, censorship is more apparent because you people can see the discrepancies but I think that here its a little different because our individual experiences don't give us anything to compare what we are being told to. It's almost like that idea of you don't know what you're missing out on until you have it for the first time... does that make sense?

    I only bring this point up because I've noticed things that don't make it into main stream media for one reason or another and I can't help but wondering if that's simply a coincidence or it's not important enough to gain traction or if it's because we're not supposed to know... I think it's happened one too many times for me to consider the coincidence reason at this point. That being said, I take back the original point I made at the beginning of this post where I said that censorship happens here on a much smaller scale compared to other countries. Censorship happens here too, just in a different form. One that could at any moment, like Claire said, could haunt us in another form.