Censoring the Media to Control the Minds of the Citizenry

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Censorship and the Media

The media provide our access to news and information. The citizens of a nation need to stay informed and thus come to trust the media that brings the news and information they desire without fear that it is a lie, an agency of an evil foreign power or in any other way not the closest to the truth possible. Censoring the media is tantamount to mind control of the citizenry. This issue is everyone's problem.

Thailand is in many ways a free country. However, a nation that has always tolerated a remarkable amount of censorship, and spawned dismaying numbers of self-appointed guardians of taste and morality.

Since governments almost always have an interest in controlling the free flow of information, official censorship is something that must be constantly guarded against. In our society, large corporations are a more common source of censorship than governments: Media outlets killing stories because they undermine corporate interests; advertisers using their financial clout to kill negative reports; powerful businesses using the threat of expensive lawsuits to discourage legitimate investigations. The most frequent form of censorship is self-censorship: Journalists deciding not to pursue certain stories that they know will be unpopular with the boss.

In contrast to state censorship, which is usually easy to recognize, self-censorship by journalists tends to be obscured. It is particularly murky and dangerous in the emerging media environment, with routine pressures to defer to employers that have massive industry clout and global reach.

In some parts of the world, the media are controlled by the government. This means that no one can broadcast or publish anything that the government considers to be immoral or harmful, or that threatens the country's stability (i.e., the government's own power base). This is what we usually think of when we hear the word censorship. Democratic countries, on the other hand, take pride in...
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