Censoring the Word

Julian Petley


4.25 x 7 inches, 118pp, 7 halftones. August 2007

ISBN : 9781905422548

Rs  395.00 (HB)
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Since the Enlightenment, freedom of expression has been regarded as one of the hallmarks of Western democratic societies. In the 20th Century, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid down the global principle that: 'everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.' From the Enlightenment, the ideas of Milton, Locke, Mill and Jefferson developed into a classical paradigm of free speech which went largely unquestioned for over two hundred years. The modern globalised world has seen an end to such assumptions. The uproar and violence over both The Satanic Verses and the Danish Jyllands Posten cartoons raised the question of whether freedom of expression—from a global perspective, most specifically an Islamic one—is an outdated legacy of Western Enlightenment or a vital and necessary tradition which must be protected.


Increasingly, the dominance of global media organisations and their responsibility to reporting the facts has led to calls for legislation for corporate freedom of expression. And, meanwhile, all pervasive, is the Internet, the new home for individual expression and the new home for the effective dissemination of religious and racial hatred and criminal sexual deviance. Censoring the Word asks if we now live in an age when freedom of expression can no longer be absolute.

Julian Petley is Professor of Film and Television at Brunel University. He is principal editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television and co-chair of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. His publications include Ill Effects: the Media-Violence Debate, A Young Citizen´s Guide to the Media in Politics, and Culture Wars: the Media and the Left in Britain.


Censorship Series
Manifestos of the 21st Century