The Culture of Censorship

Watching the recent BBC drama ‘Gamechangers’ about Rockstar’s battle with Jack Thompson got me thinking about the resurgence of censorship within the past year. I remember the Jack Thompson-driven war against video games of a few years ago. We saw ridiculous segments like the Mass effect ‘sex scandel’ on fox news that was just so poorly researched that it was amazing that is was allowed to air.  Ultimately, gaming, being the massive entertainment beast that it is, came out on top and became the biggest entity in the entertainment industry. Afterwards I naively thought that we were moving more closer to a society that accepts art as a manner of expression, as a mimic of life and something that cannot be suppressed.

Unfortunately recently we have seen some ridiculous examples of censorship that have really gained traction. The biggest one arguably was the UK governments ‘porn ban’ which created a op-out system of filters. These filters were ‘overwhelming rejected by UK Internet users’. This like most modern censorship, this was done ‘in the name of protecting children’ but instead it seems to do more harm. One of the things that were blocked out by these filters were searches on ‘sex education’. Meaning that if teenagers and young adults are looking for information on safe sex practises, than thanks to the UK government they’re unfortunately out of luck.

The UK goverment also banned, among other sex acts, ‘female ejaculation’ in the production of it’s homegrown porn, because apparently they don’t believe it’s possible. They believe its urine. Bizarre.

If you thought the UK were the only nation stuck in the past then unfortunately you were wrong. New Zeland has been channelling early 50s America by banning books. Yes books. Even literature isn’t safe. Sell Ted Dawe’s book ‘Into the River’ in New Zealand and you could be hit with a $3000 fine. It’s not even that controversial of a novel, it’s a teen coming-of-age story that features a bit of sex and drug use, nothing too extreme for that territory. The censorship, hilariously, had the exact opposite effect as intended, and now this book is internationally renown.

It always comes back to ‘protecting the children’ but no one ever addresses parents. It’s their job! No child should be playing Grand Theft Auto, of course they shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken from the shelves so that responsible adults can’t enjoy the art and entertainment of the game. It’s the parents responsibility to control what their child has access to. Do your job as a parent and just spend some time with your kid, get to know what entertainment they like and then you’ll know what they’re playing and what they’re watching.

Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, they’re essential human rights and intrical in what it is to be human. And yet we are letting people in control take these rights away from us because a minority of parents can’t do their jobs properly. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face. Educate the parents. Let them know what is inappropriate for their kids. Let them know what the ratings means!

That’s my rant over, but this is something that comes up frequently and we need to fight it. 1984 isn’t that far off.

What’s your opinion on censorship? Let me know in the comments down below and thanks for reading.

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