Censorship focuses on placing restrictions on activities that bring conflict in human relationships. Censorship has always existed in some form in all societies and is simultaneously viewed as positive or negative (O’Leary et al. (2016).

Censorship: Matters Arising

Much of the difficulty when discussing censorship arises from the fact that many types of censorship operate in different cultures and for various political reasons.  This socio-political overview of censorship revolves around an individual's private and public limitations or activities within constituted authorities. Censorship can refer to various types of restriction and control, which are affected by changing social and political contexts. It is linked to concepts such as freedom of expression, decency, political correctness, and the common good, which are also challenging to define and open to conflicting interpretations. The issue of censorship engages specific vital political interests in society. Therefore, its reception and applicability across time and space have been problematic among scholars. Beyond its traditional definition, Butler (1997) argues that censorship is directed against less powerful persons or the content of their speech by the state actors, exclusively within juridical power. According to Post (1998), the new and broader interpretation of censorship involves a move away from the binary opposition of traditional liberal versus conservative views on censorship which represents exciting and crucial intellectual development for societal harmony.

The attention of censorship today has generally shifted from books or literary expressions to more popular media and cultural representations in images, digital media, music, and films. Furthermore, the current means of controlling content are far more sophisticated than in the past, ranging from corporate interventions such as internet content suppression to different forms of state surveillance, which endanger privacy and thus motivate self-censorship, often in the act of self-defence (Newth, 2010). In this regard, Atkins and Mintcheva (2006) rejected the notion of a simple definition of censorship as the imposition of state repression. They explored ways it can be seen as a constitutive or productive force in society. Censorship is dynamic in its manifestation and has been an exciting subject for media and cultural studies scholars.


Atkins, R., & Mintcheva, S. (Eds.) (2006). Censoring culture, Contemporary threats to free expression. New York: The New Press.

Butler, J. (1998). Ruled Out: Vocabularies of the Censor. In Robert C. Post (Ed.), Censorship and Silencing: Practices of Cultural Regulation, Los Angeles: The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, pp. 247-59.

Newth, M. (2010). The Long History of Censorship. Accessed December 2022, www. beaconforfreedom.org.

O’Leary, C., Sánchez, D. S., & Thompson, M. (Eds.) (2016). Global Insights on Theatre Censorship. New York: Routledge.

Post, R. C. (ed.) (1998). Censorship and Silencing: Practices of Cultural Regulation. Los Angeles: The Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities.