Essay, Research Paper: The Freedom To Read


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The freedom to read is essential to the democratic way of life (Censorship News
1996). Today our freedom is under attack. Private groups such as mothers and
public authorities everywhere are working to remove both books and periodicals
from sale, to exclude certain books from public schools, to censor and silence
magazines and newspapers, and to limit controversial books from the general
public. The suppression of reading materials is suppression of creative
thoughts. Books are not the only one that is being suppressed by pressure to the
political and social systems. They are also being brought against the
educational system, radios, internet, television and against the Theater arts.
However or whenever these attacks occur, they usually fall at least in one of
these categories. Language Sex Drugs Society and Race Inappropriate Adolescent
Behavior What is Obscenity? Clearly something hard to discuss. Obscenity is
difficult to discuss honestly. Point being, what makes a thing obscene? is it
something too vague to be defined. It's an elusive term we use, but cant
explain. Different people often see things differently. Some see obscenity in
nude pictures, statues, paintings, etc. While others find less obscenity in
those things. All the same, obscene isn't the same as wrong or bad . Clearly
obscenity is not identical with evil. It only covers a single segment of it. But
what is that segment? A look at the words obscenity and pornography suggest that
it is that it's a segment that didn't worry people very much until recently.
Though censorship was known in the English law quite early, it wasn't for
obscenity but for heresy and sedition. David Jenkins, "Undue exploitation
of sex is what criminal law in Canada prohibits" ( p21) . That is how
criminal law defines obscenity. It doesn't differentiate between ordinary
obscenity and hard-core pornography. Written by the Law reform, "the first
denoting the ordinary girlie and guy magazines, Literature and so on that deals
with rape, bestiality, and so on People tend far more to hard-core
pornography" (Collins p25). Another distinction unfortunately overlooked by
our criminal law is the distinction between isolated instances of obscenity and
the products of vast commercial enterprise. There has been an increasing trend
towards children's literature that reflects a more realistic approach of the
life both fiction and non-fiction, with subjects that include sex,
homosexuality, divorce, child abuse, drugs, violence, etc. And they are these
realistic books that have people outraged. In school libraries, the most
frequent complains come from parents "who don't have nothing better to
do" about the school's selections. And in the public libraries, parents
were the ones again the single greatest source of challenges to materials. The
world is filled with obscene things. And it would seem that those parents are
just trying to protect their children from outside world. But does it really
help? "These days, the average elementary school student knows many
things" (Collins p27). They are influence by a wide range of sources, from
television , Internet and other forms of media, their environment at home and
school, their personality and their backgrounds. Why they read does not
necessarily mean that they will follow. Literature is a valued source of
knowledge for these children, and should not be held back. So rather than
applying full censorship, it should be made an age-related censorship, even
though I don't believe in censorship but think that there should be a limit for
pre adolescent children. Many of the complaints that were issued were of the
immaturity of the readers. And younger children should be prevented from
browsing material intended for an older age group. "Controversial materials
should held in reserve stock, available on request, or under section for teacher
who can decide for themselves whether the material is suitable or not"
(Collins p31). Our world is not perfect. We are a world filed with violence,
sex, racism, etc. Certain literature like hard-core pornography should be
censored to the general public. These types of explicit sex and literature truly
have no meaning. They degrade the human race by increasing physical, mental and
sexual abuse against women, animals, and sometimes against men. The inhuman
treatment should not be shown to prevent other potential people from
experimenting these acts. Ordinary obscenity should be censored closely, but
with an objective view. They may also cause an increase in the violence against
women, so they must be reduced and kept out of reach of the immature readers.
"To make a tree grow correctly, you must start caring from the beginning.
You must not block its nutrients, water, nor sunlight, but allow it to move
around a bit" ( Jenkins p29). We have a governing social system that mainly
frowns upon the violence against women and Children. There should indeed be
access to most types of literature, but in varying degrees to freedom,
determined not by censorship, but by controlled access. Parents are trying to
protect their children from the harsh realities of life, but are they really
helping, or hindering.
Dr. Jenkens David : The Censorship Iceberg The result of challenges :n school
and public libraries 1996. p19-34 Comptoms Interactive Encyclopedia copyright
@1996 Collens Janet: Suffer the little children October 1995. p20-33 Censorship
News. Spring 1992. n20 Censorship: stopping the book banners. By the book and
Periodical Development council. August 1993. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
copyright 1993
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