Is censorship ever justifiable?

In this media-intensive age, where we are bombarded with magazines, newspapers, periodicals, television and radio programmes, advertisements, and what-not, the issue of censorship inevitably comes into play. Censorship, has been practiced by governments and the press since the beginning of time. Yet, is censorship ever justified? Can it ever be justified?

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RE: Is censorship ever justified

Cartoon Network was not unaware of the risks; the cartoons were to be plucked from chronological order and shown late at night, as if they were refugees from some hardcore cable channel. Each one was to sport a rolling disclaimer across the bottom of the screen: "Cartoon Network does not endorse the use of racial slurs. These vintage cartoons are presented as representative of the time in which they were created and are presented for their historical value." It would be difficult to think of a more appropriate plan, but the point is now moot. Each side has had its defenders and detractors; Jerry Beck, one of our premier animation historians and archivists, believes that the right and responsible decision was made in pulling the cartoons. Others, such as columnist Kay McFadden of the Seattle Times, believes that AOL Time Warner's concern for their coffers triumphed at the expense of Art. Yet, there is a greater issue at stake than whether Warner may lose revenue or whether completists get to enjoy the full complement of Bugs Bunny cartoons. Rather, it is the continuing argument of what to do with past artistic artifacts that include racial content. Is censorship ever justified? Should history be eradicated, even in a judicious cause? Is there ever a way to separate art from its historical context, or is such racism timeless and still lethal today? As one of Animation World Magazine's monthly commentators, I wish to express my view on the "June Bugs" flap, however controversial my take might be: Both AOL Time Warner and the Cartoon Network are wrong. They are also both right. If this seems confusing, it merely reflects the fractious and contorted state of race relations in America today.

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Just pushing gently on censorship’s door unleashes a flood of questions and opinions. Why does censorship exist? How does it work? Why does it matter? Who’s affected? How is it enforced? Is censorship only about morality? Do words and music really have power? How can we tell? Who or what is most threatened by music? What is ultimately at risk when it gets suppressed? How is music used as a political tool? What are we willing to risk as music lovers to support musicians and artists at risk? Is censorship ever justified?

Is censorship ever justified?
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Is censorship ever justified, if so, what are its limits?

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