Should film censorship be banned? (Int 2 Discursive)


1. Is it a controversial subject, and why
2. Roughly (in one sentence) what the two sides are
3. What the essay is about

Film censorship/ the censorship of cinema/ the government censorship of film

• Is a controversial subject.
• Is a subject which generates many opinions/ views/ arguments
• Is a highly contested subject matter
• Is a subject that has triggered debate for many years/ for as long as cinema has existed.

Points in favour:

1 Allow film companies to profit (widen the audience)

• By removing censorship laws, film companies would be able to sell their films to more people. At the moment, fifteen year olds are not allowed to see films rated at “18”.
• If film companies made more profits they would be able to make more films for the public to watch.

2 It simply doesn’t work

• Easy for people to get around it
• What’s the point if it doesn’t work?
3 Greater audience freedom of choice
• Currently the audience cannot watch just anything
• This is patronising – surely people can judge for themselves what is suitable or not
• This would increase the audience size and lead to greater profits for cinemas
4 Downloading makes certification irrelevant
• Dawn of the internet means anyone can watch anything.
• Teenagers left unsupervised will decide what is best for them
• The “click if you are 16” option is totally pointless – anyone can click “yes”
• It is no longer necessary to provide ID at a shop or cinema; the internet cannot verify a user’s age

5 People are not so affected by the images they see

– We cannot blame violent crime on the influence of films
– What about the influence of pop songs (everyone should be depressed/ suicidal)
– What about the influence of the news
– Stand-up comedy
– Surely the society we see around us is a far greater influence than ANY media images we see

Turning point

Yet, for all these points…
The argument in favour of censorship, though…
Is this the whole story, though?
It would be dismissive to suggest, however, that…

Points against

1 Prevents children seeing inappropriate material

– There are certain materials that can traumatise children
– These can have life-long effects – need for counselling – affect their ability to engage fully in society/ relationships
– Imitate the actions? “Child’s Play”/ Bulger

2 Excludes illegal material (traumatic content)

– “Snuff” movies/ etc.
– Helps to discourage film-makers from making these films – removes the exploitation of individuals in their production
– These films often involve the committal of crimes

3 Desensitizes the audience

– They become less compassionate
– Direct influence on the quality of our society
4 Just because the system is flawed, doesn’t mean it is working

– Yes, the system is flawed
– There are ways around the law
– However, it is founded on a sound idea of protecting the public
– It may not be perfect but it is moderately successful
– Regardless of any system of censorship, there will be flaws
– That does not justify throwing the whole thing out
– It keeps our society from being desensitised, and this is a fundamentally good service


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