Media Censorship

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April 30, 2011

Media Censorship in the United States

Censorship has existed for longer than we could ever imagine. One of the first acts of state sponsored censorship occurred in 399 B.C. when Socrates, was executed for the “supposed common good of the people” (Guarding Public Morality, 2010, p.1). Socrates was a teacher and a philosopher in ancient Greece. His teaching methods were controversial for the time, and he was charged with corrupting the youth and drawing them away from the Greek religion. As a result of his actions, Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking a poisonous liquid containing hemlock (Guarding Public Morality, 2010, p. 1). As a teacher, Socrates had many students and one of those students, the Greek philosopher Plato, became the leading advocate for censorship after Socrates was executed. Plato was a firm believer that the literary materials intended for children needed to be more strictly censored (Guarding Public Morality, 2010, p. 1). Plato argued that if children were exposed to fiction too early, they would overly identify with the fictional characters and start to imitate some of those characters’ bad traits. Platos’ consensus was that it is the moral obligation of society to exercise control over everything children see or hear (Guarding Public Morality, 2010, p. 1). “This theme of guardianship over the innocence of youth is one that has been repeatedly espoused by advocates of censorship even up to the modern day” (Guarding Public Morality, 2010, p. 2). Media censorship is a moral issue for most in today’s society. The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, is responsible for the regulation of all interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in the United States. The FCC does all of the decision making when it comes to the rules and regulations in regards to media censorship (Fiss, 1999, p.1219). The FCC was established by Franklin Roosevelt and runs under the...