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Word Count: 1,295
Censorship supervision and control of the information and ideas that are circulated among the people within a society In modern times censorship refers to the examination of books periodicals plays films television and radio programs news reports and other communication media for the purpose of altering or suppressing parts thought to be objectionable or offensive The objectionable material may be considered immoral or obscene heretical or blasphemous seditious or treasonable or injurious to the national security Thus the rationale for censorship is that it is necessary for the protection of three basic social institutions the family the church and the state Until recently censorship was firmly established in various institutional forms in even the most advanced democratic societies By the mid-20th century a revolutionary change in social attitudes and societal controls weakened the existence and strength of censorship in many democracies however all forms of censorship have not been universally eliminated Today many persons including some civil libertarians object to the new permissiveness in the arts and mass media they claim it debases the public taste corrupts all sense of decency and civility and even undermines civilization In nondemocratic societies censorship is a dominant and all-pervasive force felt on all levels of artistic intellectual religious political public and personal life Hardly any act expression or relationship is exempt from official surveillance and accountability Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 says nothing explicitly about the right of freedom from censorship certain articles if strictly observed would tend to mitigate the rigor of censorship in nondemocratic countries Among such provisions are those that prohibit interference with a persons home family privacy or correspondence and those that provide for the right to freedom of thought conscience religion opinion and expression without interference Thus the worldwide struggle for human rights often involves problems of censorship as well as the fate of those dissidents who are its
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