Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Censorship

Mat, 16, watched a video then murdered Chris, 15.

Mat (Matthew O'Grady) had been watching the video nasties over and over again.

In court, Mat's defence argued the videos had desensitised him to such an extent that they had been partly to blame for his actions. (The Sun-Herald 9/12/00)

Professor Paul Wilson, leading Australian criminologist, said 10 years ago he believed video nasties were not harmful. Now he has changed his mind.

"There's increasingly evidence coming in that people who watch extremely violent videos, and who are already predisposed to violence or who have a serious personality defect, are more likely to act rather than just fantasise," he said.

"The reinforcement takes them from that level of fantasy into action. "

It's a growing problem. There are so many people in recent years with personality problems who watch violent videos...."

Jane Roberts, a leading Australian expert on early-childhood, says "research is increasingly coming to the conclusion that violent videos can precipitate some young people into actual violence."

A new report from Stanford University, in the January 2001 issue of Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, shows that reducing children's exposure to violent videos and films does make them behave less violently!

The researchers at Stanford compared 105 children in one school, who cut down on their exposure to media violence for 6 months, with 120 children in another school who did not. The researchers found that at the end of 6 months the children in the first group had become less violent. For example, aggression in the playground involving teasing, threatening, and taunting was reduced by up to half in those who reduced their viewing.

Four national US health associations last year linked violence in the media to increasing violence among children.

The link between media violence and on-the-street aggression was first identified 30 years ago, and more and more research backs up this link.

Britain has stricter censorship laws than Holland. The murder rate in Amsterdam is three times higher than that of London.

Which countries have less strict laws than Britain? Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, France, and Germany are more lax. And their murder rates are higher.

Murders per 100,000 of the population : London 2.1 , Helsinki 12.5

Which countries are stricter than Britain?

Greece is relatively strict. Murder rate in Athens 1.4. Ireland is relatively strict. Murder rate 1.9. Malta used to be strict. Young children were safe to wander late at night. Murder was rare indeed. Then the laws were relaxed. You can now see nasty films on TV. The murder rate has shot up.

There may be no connection between relaxed censorship and increased murder rates. But in Singapore they are playing it safe and keeping the laws relatively strict. Singapore has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

But wait a moment. Censorship may be both good and bad, depending..... Let's look at sex, violence and politics.

1. SEX- Wouldn't it be good if illegal porn sites could be kept off the internet. I mean sites that encourage cruelty to children or encourage rape and murder. Surely few would disagree with this form of censorship. Forgive my ignorance, but how come such sites get on the net if they are illegal? (I'm pretty stupid when it comes to things technical).

Then take schoolgirl's magazines. Some of them seem to encourage underage kids to do things they will later regret (like getting AIDS). Maybe they should employ older and wiser editors. So, some censorship gets my approval.

2. VIOLENCE- As already stated, there is research which shows that nasty violence in the media probably creates violent and criminal behaviour among children (and adults).

Crime figures in a district of South Africa shot up after the introduction of TV.

Similar findings have been found in many parts of the world.

Newspapers have reported frequent cases of murderers copying events they have viewed on video films.

In World War II, research showed that most US soldiers did not pull the trigger when supposed to be shooting at the enemy.

In the Vietnam War, the US soldiers were toughened up by being shown violent films. The films reduced sensitivity to other people's suffering. It worked. Research showed that the US troops in Vietnam were firing their guns, and carrying out massacres like at Mai Lai.

Massacres in US schools are relatively new, but on the increase. Could it be too many violent films and games? Columbine High School could happen at a school near you? So censorship of violence in 'entertainment' gets my approval.

3.POLITICS - One pillar of democracy is the media, including the internet.

We need to have uncensored sites that expose the wrongdoings of the Nixons of this world.

There are web-sites that claim that the CIA influences many of our newspapers. So we need to fight against political censorship.

Daniel Sheehan, speaking on Pacific Radio Network 11/11/92, said, "There has been a major campaign to place CIA agents in various news media posts...It was called "OPERATION MOCKING BIRD.".... "And they placed CIA operatives in places like TIME Magazine and LIFE magazine, the NEW YORK TIMES.... "It turns out that Ben Bradlee from the WASHINGTON POST was a regular CIA officer prior to coming to his post..."

So, am I against political censorship?

Yes, up to a point.

It's not all black and white. I don't want media sites that are racist and encourage genocide. I don't want pro-Nazi sites that encourage us to kill Jews. But I do want sites that expose corruption.

Who should decide what is to be allowed? Not MI6 or any political party. Better to leave things as free as possible and let parliament and the press and the courts ensure that only sites, such as the racist/Nazi ones, are closed down.

4.BLASPHEMY- polite criticism of aspects of certain religions may be legitimate (Leviticus and Deuteronomy, for example, seem to approve of keeping slaves, stoning certain people to death, killing the people whose land one has stolen....).

However, using a god's name as a form of swearing is uncouth. The fact that parts of a religion may seem mistaken does not necessarily mean that all of that religion is wrong. There are more things in heaven and earth....

5.HAPPINESS- We all tend to be happier when we are exposed to cheerful music, cheerful words, cheerful aromas, and cheerful sights.

So maybe we should have less murder, rape and madness on TV?

Hypnotists and faith healers tell us that making POSITIVE suggestions to people can make them healthier and more content. So lets have less negativity and nastiness in films and video.

Censorship? A lot depends on who gets appointed to top jobs in the media. Ideally we get editors and directors and producers who are on the side of the angels.

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