Letter from the Editor: Censorship hurts the truth

in Opinions/Editorials by

Note: As this is a topic that I am personally invested in, I will bypass my usual third person journalistic writing, and instead design this article as a first person, open letter to the readers.

  Censorship is a journalist’s worst enemy. In all honesty, it could be seen as everyone’s worst enemy. Freedom of speech is a basic constitutional right, yet it is often infringed. Personally, I neither agree with censorship nor enjoy it, but I can understand why it is necessary at times. There are cases in which censoring a person can limit any controversies or issues within a group of people, or it can even paint a person in a negative light. This could be the main reason that censorship occurs within the school.

  The administration, in the past, has, restricted some of the things that The Squall has written and published (no instance of this has occurred this year); when the newspaper puts out its issues or inserts articles on the website, we try to minimize the amount of subjects that could be potentially censored by being wary of what we are writing. We also ensure that we are not insulting or disparaging the school. There will always be instances where what we say is limited, and it is something that some journalists have come to accept. I’m not complaining, as I completely understand and respect the administration’s decisions. The last thing that I want to do is disrespect the school. Atlantic is an exemplary academic institution that is just looking out for the wellbeing of its students.

  Having said that, I need to say that I am against the general idea of censorship. It restricts our rights and it can be especially insulting to journalists as purveyors of truth and news. At one point, we have all experienced some form of censorship: everyone has seen a television show or heard a song on the radio in which a word is removed because it is a form of profanity. Now obviously, this is done to protect people from unnecessarily vulgar language. However, there are more extreme cases of censorship within the country.

  A few years ago during the Arab Spring, CNN reporters investigated the events in Bahrain, endangering themselves to gather clips of what was happening. When these reporters returned to the United States, CNN did not put the information that they acquired on the air. Instead, they falsified information. Amber Lyon, the most famous of these reporters, was not allowed to discuss Bahrain on the air and was censored about the topic until she was finally fired. Censorship, like in this example, does not allow journalists to do their job and discuss the actual events that take place, and in certain cases, can be harmful.

  Jared Goodman, the Editor-in-Chief of the Galleon, Spanish River Community High School’s award-winning publication, feels similarity about the topic of censorship. “I am against censorship. I don’t really see the point of even having the newspaper if there is a prevalence of intense censorship. My goal is not to speak poorly of the school or student life, but simply to report facts-whether they are positive or negative,” said Goodman.

  I understand that in certain cases, there are rules to be followed, but censorship is a global crisis, not just one limited to the American media. Around the world, people’s rights are being restricted when they are censored. Freedom of speech is a constitutional liberty, one that should be universal.

I’ve been a part of The Squall and the journalism class all four years that I have attended Atlantic. After starting to edit articles and work on layout during the second semester of my freshman year, I became Editor-in-Chief halfway through my sophomore year. I’ve always shown my dedication to the newspaper and I have been interested in writing since I was in elementary school. However, journalism didn’t grab my attention until freshman year when I realized that Atlantic offered the class and we could actually create a newspaper, which I find incredible. When I graduate in May, I plan on majoring in sport management at the University of Florida.

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