Censorship

Censorship

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Once you allow the government to censor someone else, you cede to it the power to censor you, or something you like. Censorship is like poison gas: a powerful weapon that can harm you when the wind shifts. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional because freedom of speech is protected in the First Amendment, and is guaranteed to all Americans.

The ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology (SPT) is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology. The project is currently working on a variety of issues, including political protest, freedom of expression online, privacy of electronic information, journalists’ rights, scientific freedom, and openness in the courts.

Additional Resources

What Is Censorship? (2006 resource):  Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

Artistic Freedom (2006 resource): Provocative art and in-your-face entertainment put our commitment to free speech to the test. Why should we oppose censorship when scenes of murder and mayhem dominate the TV screen, when some art can be seen as a direct insult to religious beliefs, and when much sexually explicit material can be seen as degrading to women? Why not let the majority's morality and taste dictate what others can look at or listen to?

Brief Timeline on Censored Music (2005 resource)

Censorship at the Smithsonian (2010 blog)

Booksellers, Publishers, Librarians and Others Challenge Censorship Law (2008 press release)

ACLU and Drug Policy Groups Sue Over Censorship of Advertisements Criticizing "War on Drugs" (2004 press release)

Film Censorship: Noteworthy Moments in History (2006 timeline)

Print Censorship - Banned Books Week (2006 resource)

Take the Banned Book Quiz! (2003 resource)

Creative Arts, Media and Free Speech Groups Join ACLU In Urging Supreme Court To Reject FCC Censorship (2008 press release)

Most Popular

A History of Fighting Censorship (2005 resource)

ACLU Comments to the Federal Communications Commission re: MB Docket No. 04-261, the Matter of Violent Television Programming and Its Impact on Children (2004 resource)

Joint Statement on Censorship and Science: A Threat to Science, the Constitution, and Democracy (2007 resource)

ACLU Settles Lawsuit Challenging Censorship Policies in Colorado Prisons (2004 press release)

 

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