Is censorship possible? It is a valid question and one that kept coming up in interviews conducted regarding the public opinion of censorship. In doing the interviews, some comments made mention of the same type of idea and are the basis of this article. One such comment came from Grant Crossan, who said: “As we now live in a world where almost all the information in the world is available, for free, online, I do not think it is possible to censor anything anymore.” This comment leads us to this question. In this age of the internet, instant streaming and downloads, is censorship even possible anymore?
The first point to consider is streaming and in particular, Kodi. Kodi is a perfectly legal media program which allows the streaming of videos, music and photos to various devices. As said, Kodi is completely legal. The issue arises from some of the software that can be put on to Kodi. This software can allow users to access illegal streams of TV shows, sports broadcasts and films. According to a YouGov investigation, there are currently nearly 5 million people who use pirated TV streaming services in the UK. Obviously, with this number, it makes finding certain content quite easy. With this in mind, does it make censorship a futile task? One member of the public, Katherine Young, has an opinion. She said: “I feel that most things can not be censored these day unless you choose to self censor them. You can pretty much download, stream or find anything that is banned on the internet. I think it is a parent’s duty to censor stuff from their kids.”
Maybe the emphasis should be out on the person seeking the content and not a body of people who decide what should and should not be seen. The issue with this is once you begin to allow that level of freedom, is it not possible that you are almost letting the inmates run the asylum?
The next area to cover is YouTube. YouTube is one of the biggest social networks in the world and provides access to a host of content. Whatever you want, you are likely to be able to find it on YouTube. Recently, YouTube changed some of their policies in regards to advertising money and how it is distributed to channels. One YouTuber affected by this is Laura Lejeune. Laura’s channel has been active since 2010 and has nearly 100,000 subscribers. In regards to this policy change, Laura said: “When they demonetise your videos and your earnings drop from £600 to £18 in the space of a month, it becomes about them controlling your content without the need for real censorship. YouTube went from a place of free speech to advertiser friendly nonsense where creators have to use their platforms to sell products to their audience to get by.
“YouTubers can go ahead and go against censorship rules, if it complies with other guidelines, but they will not get much exposure for doing so. Censorship and family friendly content is very much encouraged if you want to keep your partnership and remain in their good books.” Is this an example of YouTube censoring content? Or is it purely a way of reducing the amount of advertising revenue they pay out? That is up for debate, but the point about controlling your content is apt. Should YouTube have a say in what content is produced for the site? Christine Skeels said: “This would in turn greatly change the dynamics and original purpose of YouTube.
“What people make in the privacy of their own home is unmanageable and who they choose to share that with would be very hard to monitor.” That is also the issue about whether censorship is possible. Is it even possible to monitor who shares what content with people. Whether it is a YouTube video, a song or a film, how would you even begin to monitor or police that? It is a task that could be said to border on the impossible.
With all this in mind, is censorship still possible in this age of streaming and internet? Maybe. It is a very different job now and it is harder to do. In a strange way, the censorship bodies have almost no control over it now. It seems more than ever to be the task of the individual. As mentioned, maybe the emphasis should be on self censorship.