The aim of this study is to determine the rationale in accepting the notion that Film Censorship in Britain, in relation to the rest of the World, has made any significant impact on the way in which national governments, citizens and communities respond to it in accordance with the way it has been implemented, adapted to and dealt with legislatively over the last century.
The research brings together practical evidence by way of scholarly theory and the popular press to support some of these arguments and to determine whether it is a necessary element within society in its broadest context.
'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers' - Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19.
'The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.' (O'Byrne, 2003: 106-112)
So it appears that freedom of expression is not without its limits and is still subject to censorship in terms of what is considered beneficial to the greater good of communities. Censorship can, in its broadest sense, be defined as the suppression of knowledge or ideas. It is often enforced by governments or authoritative organisations to prevent certain types of explicit material from being circulated. This study is focusing particularly on the nature of film censorship which can be judged in relation to language that is used, the plot or the subject matter and is applied in accordance with protecting children, minority groups or vulnerable individuals from exposure to unnecessary emotional trauma.
In Britain, film censorship has been active since the turn of the last century and is now overseen by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) which classifies films and certifies them accordingly for public viewing. In the United States censorship emerged in the late 1920's with the development of talking pictures. The Hays Code of film classification was adopted in 1934 'to control the depiction of religious groups, foreign countries, foreigners, sexual and criminal activity and other repellent subjects.' (Sourced from: http://www.talkingpix.co.uk/ArticleCensorship.html, Date accessed, 18/02/09) Later on, in 1968 a classification system was established that all Hollywood movies recognise on a voluntary basis and which is governed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The UK shares many of the same censorship and classification strategies as that of the United States. The only legally acknowledged censorship bodies in the UK are the local authorities; with 'obscenity' listed as the prime protagonist for ensuring film censorship is sustained. The British Board of Film Classification argues that classification is largely upheld in accordance with protecting children. (Kochberg, 2007)
Their current guidelines identify a number of areas of concern which are addressed and considered in ...
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