5 Pages

chapternine – state interests


Censorship as an issue suffers from much heady comment. Someone somewherewill cry censorship whenever anything is known to have been deleted. Yet all newspapers, magazines, other publications and programmes have to make decisions about what to include andwhat to leave out. It is part of their normal processes.When a television news editor or a newspaper editor rejects pictures of mutilated bodies, victims of, say, a bomb attack, because they are too gruesome, it isnot censorship.Todescribe it sogoes beyond reasonable meaning, losing value from theword. If however a government official had the power to order a television programme or a newspaper not to use such pictures and in fact used the power, that would be censorship. A sensible definitionmight be that censorship is restriction on editorial content for reasons outside the normal processes of independent editing. This allows that censorship does not have to be imposed from outside. It may result from processes inside the broadcasting or publishing organisation.