In its broadest sense, film censorship is defined as suppression of knowledge. It is a mechanism mostly used to prohibit circulation of film materials. The reasons as to why film materials could be censored vary depending on the nature of the material. This term first came up in the U.S in 1934. It was used to control the way religious sects, foreign matters, sexual, and other subjects were depicted to the outside world. The effects that media, especially film has on audience is far-reaching as far as development and morality is concerned. The main issue of focus during imposition of censorship is that of violence and the need to uphold high moral standards amongst the audience of a particular film.
Before a particular film is, however, censored, it is necessary to prove beyond any reasonable doubt if it calls for restriction in terms of whether to air and who should access it. Some films for instance are inappropriate for children while others are accessible for all the age brackets.
According to Comacchio (2006), the Canadian film industry, in my opinion, films should be censored in order to safeguard morality and preserve the cultural values of the people. The Canadian government from time to time is forced to remove information that is morally questionable. Good example is the pornographic films; this is censored for this reason. The control agents have formulated laws which qualifies child pornography to be illegal and thus without censoring the films then it will be hard to instill good morals to the public as people are exposed to materials of questionable morals.
There is also need for film censoring in-order to protect military information and secrets from enemies. This is especially when government wants to maintain top secrecy in matters pertaining national security to reduce its vulnerability to enemies’ attacks. Therefore, to affect this measures government sets codes of conduct that should be adhered by filmmakers. This prevents the dissemination of information that is believed to weaken the security system of the country Gary.
Political censorship is also another reason in support of the film censoring. The government deliberate holds political information back from its citizen. This will reduce freedom of making speeches that can lead to a section of people rebellion against others or rebellion of public all together. The government has to put some rules and regulation to ensure that there is smooth running of the activities. The most widely known reason for political censorship is that of the need to avoid panic amongst the citizens. For instance, in the event that there is a leak of information regarding potential terrorist attack, it is important that the government steps in to prohibit distribution of such information in order to prevent possible instances of panic .
Film censoring is also advocated for protection of the beliefs and practices of the different religions that are in existence. As a result, materials that are believed to contradict the beliefs of a certain religion are supposed to be removed to avoid collusion between religion.
Sometimes censorship protects media from showing materials that are perceived to affect certain corporation in a negative manner. For example, a movie that depicts certain corporation to be the root course of insecurity in a given locality can be banned from the market. This is widespread mostly in Canada as it provides a platform for ethical promotion and advertisement.
Censorship is a protection tool. It is used to ensure that filmmakers accept the sense of their responsibility to the public in terms of their health and welfare. Therefore, it is the responsibilities of filmmakers to take into consideration the welfare of children when designing their films so that it will enhance general improvement of the welfare of the group in question.
The Canadian authorities for instance justify film censorship on the grounds of need to protect the general interest of the public so that filmmakers do not just make them without considering the effect their films have on the public. Without censorship in Canada, it means that film industries produce any content they deem is desirable by their own standards to the public. In Canada, the National Film Board governs film production and distribution. In 1972, for instance, The Board banned many Quebec films produced by the French unit for political reasons (Boyd, 2009).
Clement (2009) postulates that the reasons as to why certain films should be restricted in terms of production and distribution in Canada vary from province to province. However, the general justification for this measure in Canada is the need to protect the public’s interests in terms of morality is concerned. In the province of Quebec, for instance, any film content proved to be exhibiting teachings or lessons contrary to the religious teachings are automatically banned from the public’s access. Personally, I consider this measure the most viable and inevitably necessary to uphold morality and that values advocated for by the churches are adhered to without conflicting them with those aired in TVs.
In Canada, the Film Board makes it a mandate that before any film content is made available to the public, it must be rated. Therefore, films that are not rated cannot be aired on national TV stations because the producers of such films have not clarified the age bracket for its audience. This measure is necessary in that it avoids instances where videos are aired on TV while it could not be in the best interest of the public. For instance, before a program starts on the TV, a Canadian parent would want to know if it is suitable to watch it with their children or not. Therefore, films without rating make it difficult to determine their suitability (Comacchio 2006).
Gary (1991) argues that, film censorship is not exceptionally justified across Canada. Film censorship is outright infringement of the freedom of expression. In this sense, it means that the government often uses censorship to protect its own interests. For instance, in the wake of the 21st century, with introduction of Weakileaks Cables Canadian authorities banned the subsequent airing of its contents to the public because it most probably incited violence. Looking closely at the government’s claims, it was not justified to restrict distribution of such information.
Censorship, on the other hand, is also imposing in some sense. Rather than film censorship instead of reflecting particular standards against which to measure suitability, it imposes them. This automatically amounts to infringement of the universal right to freedom of expression not only within Canada but also in every nation (Hutchinson and Petersen 1991).
In conclusion, censorship needs to be actively present in order to ensure the existence of a healthy society. Without the film censorship board, the content shown to a society would not be easily regulated. Film media is extremely appealing to citizens and is one of the most effective ways of development. As a result, the need for films to display positive messages instead of terrorizing negativity is very significant and plays a huge role in censorship. Although censorship is necessary for a society to prosper and not disintegrate, censorship boards need to maintain a common ground between what actually needs to be censored and what is all right for the public to be able to view. The bans and censors also need to be reasonable as this can also upset the public.