The Early Years
• Rigid guidelines for
acceptable art appeared
in Egypt as early as 3400 B.C.
» 8 A.D. Poet Ovid was exiled from
» ancient Rome because his Ars
» Amatoria had offended the moral
» sensibilities of Emperor Augustus.
• 339 BC, The ancient Greek city/state of
Sparta banned poetry and other reading
material that didn’t deal with “useful”
topics, like agriculture and commerce.
• Greek Philosopher Plato
(428-347 B.C) thought that
because art has the power
to intensify emotions, a
“drastic censor” should
• Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C) said
that young people should be protected not
only from words but also from pictures.
• 213 B.C., Chinese emperor Shi Huang Di burned
The Analects of the
Confucius and nearly all
other books in
China in an attempt to
destroy old loyalties and
• 5th Century to the 15th
Century, Medieval Europe,
almost all artistic
expression was commissioned
by the government or the
• 1538, The English monarchy established
licensing laws to allow the government to
control what was printed.
» 1559, Queen Elizabeth I ordered that
no book could be published without
» 1643, The English government issued
a censorship edict that required all
books to be submitted to an official
censor before publication.
» 1789, Congress voted to accept
» the Constitution. Many people
were worried that the
powerful, new, centralized
government might trample the
rights of individuals.
• 1791, Congress approved the first
10 amendments, which came to Be know
as the Bill of Rights. The amendments
were meant to protect basic liberties
and specific rights and freedoms.
• 1933, 5,000 singing students ended a torchlight parade
with a huge book burning in Nazi Germany.
• 1935, Smoot Hawley Tariff passed, allowing any book
printed by an established publisher was freely admitted
in the United States.
• 1948, United Nations adopted a Universal Declaration of
human rights to protect people’s freedom of expression
and other basic rights.
• 1818, People were encouraged to censor
their own readings through books such
as Bowdler’s family shakespeare.
Thomas Bowdler published works by
Shakespeare and other authors, but
he edited out reference to sex and
other passages that he believed
“unfit to Be read aloud By a
gentleman to company of ladies.”
-1873, Anthony Comstock founded the New York Society for
the suppression of vice and Congress passed a law that
would allow the U.S. Postal Service to prohibit indecent
material from being sent through the mail.
1950-60’s, senator Joseph
mccarthy’s “witch hunts”
for supposed Communists.
» 1968, Movie ratings became
1969, Tinker v. Des Moines
• 1988, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier.
• 2010, Ciudad Juarez is the one of the deadliest
cities in Mexico, and is one of the most
dangerous for journalists. 10 were killed in
2010. Drug cartels pressure journalist and
editors in Mexico to avoid reporting on them and
to print unflattering stories about rival drug
cartels. The result is increasing self-