Knowing the truth in a political climate where so many things are deemed as false is a very important thing. Being able to decipher what is legitimate from what is satire is a critical skill in today’s non-stop world of information. Censoring any type of media just because it reveals how a person, policy, or certain rhetoric may not be what they claim to be is unjust and unfair to the people.
There are certainly restrictions that should be included on what someone can say and cannot say. For instance, yelling bomb on an airplane or fire in a crowded movie theater will get anyone who does it in serious trouble. Those situations are hypotheticals, but there are situations where there may be an actual fire burning very close to what people hold dear, but censorship has prohibited them from learning about it.
When the public knows about issues they will at least know how to react to the conflict at hand. Comparing it to the medical field, a patient cannot receive treatment if they do not know what is wrong with them, and that dialogue begins with the doctor being honest with the patient. The same type of thinking should be applied with reporting news to the public.
This way leaders will be held accountable and future leaders understand they have to uphold their integrity, morals, and set the standard for how someone in power is supposed to act. The implications could be severe for those who have something to hide, but without the work of investigative journalism throughout history, the country could look a lot different. For example, holding leaders in the Nixon administration accountable for not telling the truth about what was happening in Vietnam, allowed the United States to get out of Vietnam faster than the country would have if reporters stayed silent.
The same reasoning applies for smaller outlets such as school newspapers, censoring students voices can lead to major repercussions. In 2015 a news article about the harmful effects of a new way students were using drugs was intended to go into Virginia’s Fauquier High School’s newspaper. However, it was pulled at the last minute by the principal because it was deemed “overly mature” for the schools audience. The editors of the newspaper then brought the article to Fauquier Now, which is an online newspaper who agreed to publish the article. The amount of views that the article got online was nearly ten times higher than the schools actual student body.
Understandably, there are some things that require more subtlety when being reported on. Teachers personal lives, people’s financial situations, and things that could potentially put the school in danger should not be published. That being said to have a productive newspaper, it is still important to let writers discuss mature topics like politics, reforming school policies, and drug abuse. By doing so this will further enhance the writers ability to learn how to effectively create important pieces of journalism, and it will educate others who read the article on serious topics that may affect them now or in the future.