To Censor Or Not To Censor – That Is The Question!

In our Social Studies course this week we’ve been discussing democracy and democratic values, and we’ve learned that two hallmarks of democracy are  freedom of expressionand a free press. Blogging is very democratic because it’s a new way for us to express ourselves freely and share our thoughts with the whole world.  In fact, in  non-democratic countries people are not allowed to blog at all. In democracies-in-transition some people may be allowed to blog, but their blogs will be censored. This means that someone (a censor) reads the blog and takes out anything that they don’t want people to read. This is also be called the suppression of information. So, according to our democratic ideals …..

Freedom of Expression + Free Press = Good

Censorship = Bad

Right?


So, then why am I allowed to censor your blogs? Isn’t that undemocratic?

Shouldn’t students have the same  freedom-of-speech rights as adults?

If you were in my position, what would you censor?

What would you not censor?

5 responses to “To Censor Or Not To Censor – That Is The Question!

  1. Ned,
    I really appreciate your second comment –
    “if students didn’t have some freedom it would not be your blog. It would be the teachers blog”.
    You put this very well and these are the ethical decisions that I face as a teacher.
    How much freedom should I allow my students?
    What should I censor – and what should I not censor?
    Mrs. Theriault

  2. Mrs. Theriault,
    Students should not have full freedom of speach.
    We can put our oppinion but it cannot be to offensive. Some people may be more sensative and might disagree with what you say. They might start a fight. I still think you can put what you want if you think its apropriate or you believe it.
    If you swear on a blog or wesite they wont want to go onyour stie becasue the will think you are bad and imature.
    Madison

    http://wp.me/PrAf5-121

    Madison

    http://wp.me/PrAf5-121

  3. Madison,
    I agree with your comment “We can put our opinion but it cannot be to offensive”. Of course that is the conundrum – what is inoffensive to one person might be offensive to another person.
    One part of growing up is figuring out what might or not be offensive to someone else. Sometimes you may find a more inoffensive way to express your opinion. Other times you may decide not to express an opinion openly.
    On the other hand, you may decide that it is important to express your opinion whether or not it offends some people, because it is an opinion that needs to be expressed.
    For example, if you remember the story of Iqbal who fought against child labour in Pakistan, his opinions were offensive to the business owners who employed children, but he still spoke out because it was an important issue.
    Thank you for your comments,
    Mrs. Theriault

  4. Mrs. Theriault,
    This is a very interesting question that you have posed to both your students and the blogging community. As educators, we have an obligation to protect our students. We must teach them how to blog responsibly. We can teach them respectful commenting and how to think of their audience. It is important that we allow them to have their own views, opinions, and ideas. I think censorship should only serve as teachable moments, and to protect our students.

  5. I have read through this blog and the posters seem so young but have excellent ideas that older people sometimes won’t understand (To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind). I believe privacy and censorship is something that should have an equilibrium. The problem is that this balance is hard to discover. If we callous our grip on people’s freedom, people have limited speech and their opinions are abolished, whereas too much freedom leaves people do certain things that are not always good, and express harsh opinions that imply serious things such as racism. Therefore, with freedom, a right, we must have RESPONSIBILITY to not abuse of these rights.

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