The Censorship Debate

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In the twenty-first century society has found lots of things to argue over. In the US especially, people are concerned with the moral aspects involved in touchy subjects such as stem-cell research, gay marriage, and even more recently terrorist interrogation methods. On-going debates rage in all of these subjects and a question arises: should we, the people of the United States, allow or frown upon the very thought of them? Censorship is another current debate that takes on many forms. Censorship could happen in just about any medium such as television, the internet, printed material, radio, even in speech itself. The First Amendment of the Constitution allows the freedom to speech and press, but it's not that black and white. Negative consequences arise since the United States has such open policies when it comes to speech and press. This all poses one big question. Would US censorship practices be beneficial to the public interest?

Freedom of Speech is one of the cornerstones of US democracy. It is protected in the First Amendment but there are still currently some restrictions on what people can and cannot say. For instance shouting fire in a crowded theatre is not allowed because it causes a clear and present danger according to the United States Supreme Court in the case Schenck v. United States (1919). Hate speech is the major subject of debate when it comes to free speech. People for media censorship would claim that if hate speech is allowed then groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, or Neo-Nazi organizations will continue to be allowed to verbally assault specific groups and make claims that could potentially create violence. Because there is a potential for physical violence and mental anguish, these groups should be censored. The opposition claims that the First Amendment is clear, and that we have a complete freedom of speech. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defend civil liberties; this includes organizations such as the KKK....
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