Public and private censorship

To have a better look at this issue, it is interesting to know what other individuals think about censorship in light of the First Amendment. Claire Hollywell, a 24-year old nurse from Southampton, UK, is basically pro-censorship. Although Hollywell is not against any part of the First Amendment per se, she first lays down the line between private and public viewing. She also admits that it would be virtually impossible to remove all pornographic material from general media, but also stresses the importance of being actively vigilant about subliminal pornography that is becoming more and more embedded in everyday culture.

Hollywell strongly believes that pornography should be an active choice and not “However, I believe pornography should definitely be censored in the context of wider media. Although we cannot remove all pornographic media (however much we may want to) from the internet and film industry, we can take measures to ensure that it is only by ACTIVE CHOICE that it is obtained and is not subliminal within everyday culture. The media, advertising and film industry have used different degrees of pornography to sell their items and within promotion.

This is where I believe that the first amendment is in no way infringed if media is further censored to protect the young and vulnerable audiences… Should pornography be censored in light of the first amendment? In public and general media? ... absolutely. ” (Hollywell) Hollywell draws the line between public and private censorship, which in effect will protect the rights of all those involved. From an opposite point of view is Weng Soon Kong, a 23-year old finance professional from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kong believes that underage individuals should be restricted from accessing pornographic material, but he also believes that pornography censorship itself is not necessary and not effective. Kong reasons out: “Men will always have ways to get it though it’s banned... so if you want all porn to be censored then you’ll end up with more illegal porn. I do support no porn for underage [persons]... but for an adult they know what they should or not view. Somehow with porn it helps to reduce some sexual harassment... you know...

curiosity can lead some to harass females. Like here in Malaysia... we do have rape cases more in those religiously strong states. So if you censored all porn then they will have no ways to "release". [In the] end, [it] might result in more rape cases. Stopping porn does not stop the urge or men’s needs. In the Muslim states here in Malaysia, they do ban everything to do with sex, so they have more rape cases. ” (Kong) Kong’s opinion comes from a circumstance where censorship is heavily influenced by his country’s primary religion.

What is interesting is that he actually directly correlates the incidences of rape to the censorship being implemented in his country. Proving the correlation he claims would need a separate study. Taking both Hollywell and Kong’s sides of the story, one can see that the main dividing line lies between two contrasting and opposing extremes: ultra-liberalism and ultra-puritanism. Liberals are against any form of restraint and censorship, while puritans are against any form of obscenity. To further muddle the pool, another dichotomy lies between the absolutists and the moderates or non-absolutists.

Easton defines the absolutists as those who “reject any form of prior restraint,” and the moderates or non-absolutists as those who “have accepted some restraint in exceptional cases where there is an immediate risk of harm. ” (96). Judging cases according to an absolutist position is a very dangerous way of settling arguments and debates such as this, but even more precarious and complicated is trying to placate all parties involved by striking a balance between extremes. According to Easton, “balancing does not resolve the problems of interpretation.