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The Blue & Gray Press | August 20, 2019

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Media censorship laws in need of morality check

Media censorship laws in need of morality check


Jessie James Decker, a 26-year-old country-pop singer, recently began potty-training her 10-month-old daughter, and she posted an innocent photo to her Instagram account of her daughter learning to use the bathroom.

The photo was quickly flagged and removed from the site.

Outraged, Decker took to the web in defense of her photo.

Decker reposted a nude picture of Kim Kardashian from her spread in Love magazine, and compared it to her daughter’s picture.

“Soooo this is appropriate, but my daughter going potty…with nothing showing is flagged as inappropriate??? Wow Instagram. Wow,” Decker wrote.

As an individual who typically understands the need for media censorship, I am confused by the rules and guidelines used to uphold it these days.

I believe if a photograph spreads awareness, or if it makes a positive impact, then there is understandable cause for why a somewhat controversial photo would be published. In my opinion, I do not see either of those qualities being emitted through the publishing of Kim Kardashian or any other celebrity’s nude photographs.

Why is it that we are content viewing photos such as these, yet we cannot seem to look upon reality or tragedy because it make some people uncomfortable.

For example, in April 2002, The Free Lance-Star published front-page photographs of a woman named Deborah Myers jumping off the edge of the I-95 Rappahannock River overpass to her death. There was an immediate public reaction that ensued.

Although not surprising, this is not the only time photographs caused a stir within readers.

Freelance photographer Kevin Carter, who often shot uncomfortable yet eye opening photos, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for a photo taken during the Sudan famine.

The photo revealed an emaciated Sudanese girl lying on the ground with a vulture waiting nearby.

The New York Times ran this photo on the front page, and people were outraged.

Both Carter and the New York Times received a large amount of feedback from angry readers who did not understand how such an unethical photo could be published.

This photo was rejected by the public merely because of its powerful eye-opening affect and its unveiling of the tragedies of the world. Celebrities, such as Kardashian, are praised for “breaking the Internet” with nude photographs that serve no higher purpose.

“In this day and age, if you’re not doing something to help make the world even a slightly better place, then you’re just taking up space. Let’s be honest, those photos [of Kardashian] are nothing but self-serving. And they’re not photojournalism; just voyeurism,” said Edie Gross.

The media is so focused on showing people what society tells us the people want to see that we forget about showing people what they need to see, even when it may be tough to handle.

Photographs depicting war are often censored because they are considered too graphic for some viewers, but how can one determine if it is powerful or inappropriate?

I would say depicting women as pieces of meat, publishing and praising nude photos of them, is also dehumanizing.

Society’s opinion of what media censorship should be has been diluted, and I question what our standards have become.

We have neglected to make ourselves aware of what is going on around us because we are too afraid of taking responsibility for it.

For as Gross said, “Looking away doesn’t make those scenarios less real. It just means they’ll continue to multiply. Before you know it, that horrifying image shot halfway around the world that you couldn’t look at will be replicated in your own backyard.”

It is our job to decide where the lines of media censorship are drawn.

If society would open its eyes to real issues an allow themselves to see, they would not be approving the Kardashians of the world, nor condemning the Carters.