Many countries across the world practise censorship – avoiding various forms of expression of sensitive issues like race and expletive content. Perhaps the only difference between more liberal countries like the United States of America and less liberal ones like Singapore is the degree to which censorship is exercised. But it must be emphasisesd that no matter how open or conventional a society is, ceorship is mandatory, with its ultimate goal being to maintain harmony among poeple from all walks of life.
Firstly, censorship ensures that people, particularly those from minority races, do not get discriminated or insulted because of their heritage. Take Singapore for example. One of the reasons why we can stay as a multiracial society is precisely because the government not only exercises censorship, but the people too do keep in mind to practise self-censorship. Being ranked 147th out of 160 odd countries in the press-freedom index rated by Reporters Without Borders may not be very pleasing, but it does reflect how censorship helps to maintain teh social fabric of a soceity. Thus, even though it may seem demeaning to a country, censorship is a necessary evil we must take on.
Secondly, censorship ensures that youths will become better leaders of the future. Nowadays, children are more and more influenced by what they watch on television or observe in their surroundings. If there were expletives and provocative films broadcasted islandwide without being rated or censored, imagine what youths these days will be learning. At the worst, a child might even hurl some vulgarities at his parents thinking that it is a norm. What is teh future goig to be like then? Clearly, it is very difficult to eliminate such forms of media completely, but the very least we could do is to censor as much as we can, so that youths willl pick up the “good things” broadcasted instead of the bad. While they are continually exposed to the censored information, they will be able to inculcate values and strengths into their daily lives. Hence, for the benefit of our future, censorship must be exercised.
It is, of course, undeniable that censorship brings about its fair share of ills too. Look at Singapore again. Our government is said to be paternalistic and our people are perceived to be pampered citizens. If people are constatnly protected from uncensored information, when a person ultimately encounters one, they will have a very negative response to that. That also menas that they will take the peace and harmony between races for granted, which was why the Maria Hertogh riots serve as a constant reminder to us that racial harmony is not easily achievable. Censorship does make people feel too protected to treasure teh peace they have gained from it. In other words, they would be very naive.
Nevertheless, that is one risk we have to take when it comes to censorship issues. Peace is defintely much more valued than conflict. IN any case, we could always learn from others’ mistakes or the past to remind ourselves to treasure what we have been given. That is why we have things like Racial Harmony Day, not only in Singapore, but across the world as well. Perhaps the bottomline it that every person wants to have harmony and to achieve that, there is no running away from censorship.
Therefore, in conclusion, censorship is a necessary evil we must practise. The best proof of this statement is that every country in the world exercises it, only to varying degrees. It may be depriving people of some freedom, but it is for the common good.