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Running Head: THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH TO A CERTAIN EXTENT




                   The Freedom of Speech to a Certain Extent


                                 Alexis Wyatt


                        Saginaw Valley State University
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                            The Freedom of Speech to a Certain Extent


       In today’s time and age most of us have become totally reliant on the media. Many

people around the world use different forms of media every day. There are many purposes that it

can be used for things such as getting or being socially connected with others, for learning or

educating, news stories, and my favorite one of all entertainment. I am interested in

entertainment for numerous reasons. One reason being is that I like all the brainstorming that

goes into creating a plot to grab and keep my attention. It is also the best form of media because

it is very enjoyable. I spend most of my free time utilizing all the entertainment sources I have

around me. If I wasn’t writing this paper I would probably be watching something like

SpongeBob. Although, I enjoy the whole entertainment world I often wonder why some

entertainment sources like the television shows, radio stations, and movies have certain

restrictions on what they can do and or say.


       Which brings up another question, do we really have the right to say what we want where

and when we want to? In the Constitution it does state, “Congress shall make no law respecting

an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of

speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the

Government for a redress of grievances.” The first amendment does clearly state there shouldn’t

be a law that prohibits us from having our right to say what we want, as long as it doesn’t step on

the rights of others happiness. Are we allowed to have the freedom of speech, but have to have

some limitations along with that? Is the reason why the government created “censorship”

because everyone shouldn’t be allowed to say and do as they please? If everyone was allowed to
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how chaotic would the world we live in would be. I can just picture the riots and fights that

would break out.


        As a child I remember we had Comcast cable throughout our whole house. Since we had

cable with so many channels, the options of what I could watch seemed to be endless, well that is

what I thought. Comcast used to offer channels to suit everyone’s certain interest including

adults available at many different times. When it was late or seemed like nothing good was on

my favorite television stations I would go from channel to channel until I saw something that

caught my eye. Well one day I stumbled across a Rated R movie that had plenty of curse words

and some nudity and my mom had seen what I was watching. Then she said something along the

lines of this:

        “Pooh WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU WATCHING?”

        I then said, “I dunno mommy I was just looking for something to watch.”

        “Little girls should not be watching things like this,” my mom said as she hurried up and

snatched the remote from me and changed the channel. She soon found something on “On

Demand” that was basically for parents to control what their children are watching by blocking

and locking certain channels.


        When dealing with the task of connecting my topic to my personal life I thought about

my own experiences. Looking back at this situation I realize that I been personally affected by

censorship. In a way it somewhat sheltered me from some things my parents and family think I

shouldn’t have been exposed to at a certain age. I agree with censoring because to me it allows

children and teens to witness certain things when they are more mentally developed. It also made

me think about how much things are censored and how it can affect people differently. Some
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censoring actually helps people by not having the media interfere with their beliefs or morals.

While others think it interferes with the creativity of a person’s thoughts, feelings, and or

emotions by not letting them fully say what they feel should be said.


        I wanted to start my research up by actually looking at some background information on

censorship. I feel that I can’t talk about the present or future before I discuss the history of it. The

website on different things in history I found to be very useful. This website carried a lot more

detailed information on the topic too. It is credible because it has all the information citied for

where everything was found at the bottom of the page. The sources are varied from books to

newspapers.


        According to www.randomhistory.com, “censorships are broken down into two different

things which are: to protect a society from moral corruption or to quash subversive ideas that

could harm political regime.” This statement in my own words means that censorship is to help

shelter those of particular thoughts and views from things that may differ from what they believe

or think. It is to be said that one of the earliest signs of censorship in history is of Socrates in 399

B.C. Socrates was executed because he was accused of corrupting his students by teaching them

in different methods and making them think of things other than the Greek religion. After his

death one of his students named Plato became an advocate for censorship. He believed that he

was protecting children’s innocence by not exposing them to materials like fiction. He thought

by doing this the children wouldn’t be able to mimic the fictional character bad traits. This is

when the idea developed about it being society’s job to monitor and control what children read,

see or hear. It soon caused all of Greece to adapt to the idea of censorship.
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       The idea of censorship started spreading, but not just censoring what children read. Soon

in China the emperor Qin Shi Huang had all the books burned that weren’t about agriculture,

medicine, or the prophecy in 213 B.C. to protect his empire from different perceptions from

poetry, history, and philosophy (Baez 2008). He didn’t want any new ideas floating around

because he just united his empire. Wherefore the United States ratified the first amendment in

1790 giving the people the right to free press and speech. Meanwhile the only other place who

made a law against censorship is Sweden.


       The main source I used to was the history website because it helped me find out other

sources with information that I was unaware of. I learned basically all that information on

censorship. I understand more now of why it was created and the main purpose wasn’t to take

away the rights we were born with such as the first amendment. I thought that the United States

actually came up with the idea, but it was first developed in Greece. I also found it ironic that the

philosopher that basically established it he did so after the death of his teacher, who was killed

because of him not censoring his teaching. Then you would think that if the United States came

up with a law that was all for freedom of speech that they wouldn’t make a law against it. The

censorship also varies in style and method. Some took the whole idea to another level like the

China emperor. When situations like that occur it makes me go more into depth on my question.

So should entertainment be made for certain age groups and maturity? If this is true how do we

determine it?


       I am still unsure of the answer to my question because it is a very controversial issue. I

also think that we should have the right to say how we feel without someone restricting us, but I

also think it’s a time and place for everything. Some things we may have the desire to say for
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entertaining, informing, or inspiring someone may be inappropriate in certain settings. Doing the

research though did help me realize we all are given a choice to choose whether we want to

watch, see, or read and what we don’t. We are surrounded with the media and influences, but it is

on us if we want to feed into it or not. I am going more towards being for censorship, but I think

there should be more strict guidelines through the television, radio, and in movies. Having more

strict guidelines will allow an even playing field on what is appropriate and what isn’t for the

public.
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                                          References


The Constitution of the United States
http://www.usconstitution.net/
Walenta, Craig, 1995-2011. Retrieved March 30, 2012.

Guarding Public Morality. A Global History of Censorship.
http://www.randomhistory.com/censorship-history.html
2007-2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.

Baez, Fernando. 2008. A Universal History of the Destruction of Books. New York, NY

Heins, Majorie. 2001. Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of
Youth. New York, NY

{Interview not documented}

				
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posted:11/21/2012
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