The term censorship is widely used in various social spheres and, although it has various definitions, it is used to refer to the interventions made by censors regarding the content or form of a certain work, following a series of political reasons. , of ideology , religion or morals . It is a way to prohibit or limit the expressions at the time that the authors consider that the contents have been exposed by them can be usurped.


What is censorship?

Censorship refers to the control that exists over information and over the different ideas that circulate within a society . It is also the power that the State can exercise over a person or a group that exercises significant influence and over the dissemination of information or news.

  • What does it consist of
  • Censorship features
  • History
  • Types of censorship
  • How is it justified
  • Examples

What does it consist of

The most common use that is given to censorship is related to the intervention that is carried out with the aim of being able to deprive a certain idea or work , it is a way of being able to limit or even prohibit expressions when it is considered that they have private content offensive or even harmful . This term is also closely related to governments , when they have the ability to prevent important information from being disseminated, which generally goes against their interests.


Censorship is a process that involves the power to limit and control the freedom of expression , especially when it opposes the order that has been previously established. For this reason, it is one of the most used means in governments that follow a dictatorial regime . The term can also be applied to the field of art , journalism, and publishing .

Censorship can also appear in the field of morality, mainly when it is related to films, series or books, in order to eliminate those materials that are considered prohibited , obscene or that go against the morality of a certain region. . Thus, in some films, scenes that include extreme violence or sex are cut so that the public does not have access to them. In short, censorship can be defined as the use of power in order to control everything related to freedom of expression .

Censorship features

Among the main characteristics that can be found in censorship are the following:

  • It is not present in the governments of such democratic because the rulers do not have right some to prevent publication of information.
  • It is more common to observe in authoritarian governments .
  • It can be used by any State or by influential groups in which there are people with a high level of power.
  • It is used to be able to exercise control over own profits .
  • It can be of an explicit type or it can also be dictated by a law.
  • On some occasions, it is generated due to a series of taboos established by society.
  • It can be presented as self-censorship in which groups of individuals can condition or even modify what they really think or feel in the face of the fear that the idea of ​​generating negative consequences produces.
  • In censorship, the person in charge of monitoring and intervening the information is known as a sensor .
  • Censorship can also be applied to books , plays , music, and movies .


Censorship has actually been a very common and normal practice since ancient times . Since the 16th century , the use of it increased considerably, mainly when the development of the printing press took place , which, together with the copyists , were in charge of disseminating all kinds of works. This excess of information dissemination was not very well seen by everyone, especially by the authors, and for this reason, a certain degree of control began to be exercised with respect to the information that was shared.

It was also in the Roman period when the figure of the Censor began to be used, who had the function of being able to publish or hide some types of information. Starting from the Renaissance , censorship was applied more vigorously mainly in works and in their protagonism.

Types of censorship

There are several types of censorship, which are mentioned below:

  • Political censorship : this type of censorship is a way in which people who have political power in a nation can proceed in order to manipulate the laws and statutes that have been previously established in order to keep the people subject.
  • Censorship in education : this type of censorship is applied not only to the different types of textbooks but also to students, especially young people in order to avoid conflicts or that these provoke critical situations.
  • In art : it implies that the author who has created a certain work of art, which can be a book, a painting, a painting or music, has all the rights as an author and for this reason, others cannot make use of his work.
  • Censorship of State secrets : this censorship is applied with the aim of being able to prevent the delivery of information which can become useful in the wrong hands. It is a way to keep places or situations secret or it can even include the delay in the delivery of information.
  • In music and popular culture : this type of censorship is applied to music to prevent the original works of the authors from being disseminated without their consent.
  • Film censorship : this type of censorship makes it possible for certain images or movie scenes to be removed so that they cannot be broadcast in a certain region. It is closely related to the prohibition of pornography, obscene language and violence.

How is it justified

The justification for censorship is a very difficult aspect to achieve since in most cases the human right related to freedom of expression stands out . In some cases, censorship has been seen as a means of defense to safeguard individual and group ethics , however, it is not easy to apply.

The case in which the news that is spread is false and all they do is create chaos and confusion based on lies has also been studied . In these cases, some governments or individuals justify the use of censorship, although this aspect is also very difficult to verify since the truths may be different for everyone.


Some examples of censorship are mentioned below:

  • The index of books prohibited by the Catholic Church , texts that were censored between the years 1564 and 1966.
  • In some countries, the Harry Potter saga has been attacked and banned, mainly due to problems of a religious nature.
  • The censorship of Michelangelo’s work called ” The Last Judgment “, a mural that was painted in the Sistine Chapel in the 16th century, which was considered by Pope Pius V and by the faithful of the Catholic religion as immoral.
  • Currently you can see censorship on social networks .

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