GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue


1. In some countries, television and radio programs are carefully censored for offensive language and behaviour. In other countries, there is little or no censorship.


Question


In your view, to what extent should government or any other group be able to censor television or radio programs? Explain by giving relevant reason and/or examples to support your position.


Analysis


In the matter of censoring television and radio programs for offensive language and behaviour, there is an inherent conflict between our right as citizens for freedom of information and the government's duty to protect us from potential harm. I think that the rights of individuals should take a back seat while compared to society's interest in preventing the harm that exposure to obscenity can cause to the citizens, particularly the youth.

It is my belief that exposure to obscene and offensive language and behaviour can influence the behaviour of those who are exposed to it, although it is difficult to prove a conclusive cause and effect relationship. But both common sense and our experiences with children lead us to believe that people often tend to ape the language and the behaviour which they are exposed to day after day.

No one can deny that obscene and offensive behaviour is indeed harmful to a society and such harm is both tangible and deep. For the individual, it has a debasing impact on vital human relationships. For the society, it promotes a tendency toward immoral and antisocial behaviour. Both outcomes, in turn, tear apart the social fabric that holds a society together.

Those who advocate unbridled individual expression might point out that the right of free speech is intrinsic to a democracy and necessary to its survival. Even so, this right is not absolute, nor is it the most critical element. In my assessment, the interests served by restricting obscenity in broadcast media are, on balance, more crucial to the survival of a society. Advocates of free expression might also point out difficulties in defining obscene or offensive language or behavior. But in my view, however difficult it may be to agree on standards, the effort is worthwhile.

In sum, it is in our best interest as a society for the government to censor broadcast media for obscene and offensive language and behavior. Exposure to such media content tends to harm society and its citizenry in ways that are worth preventing, even in light of the resulting infringement of our right of free expression.

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