Blurred Lines

I’ve never been a huge fan of censorship. I don’t think anybody has really. I mean as much as we cringe when the steamy sex scenes enter the living room, we are more than likely to be drawn into it. After all, that drives, that necessity to conform towards our primal needs confirms our humanity, the basic instincts that define us.

The thing is, our (Indonesian) screen policy plays deeper into censorships. It is very obsessed with it, which creates the needs to blur even a cartoon character for showing a hint of sexuality.

“Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.” – George Bernard Shaw

By toying with the idea of protecting the audience’s morale and state of mind, this sort of logic expands into blurring journalistic stories, altering the reality of news for the mere comfort of your spare time.

And for me, that is even dangerous than blurring (or even cutting out) Beyonce’s cleavage from her music video. I mean yes, it is still sad as it defies our freedom of expressing ourselves and performing art. Moreover, it sort of delays the progress for change of our social prejudice and stature between gender and races.

But with news items, we can’t just apply the same logic of inhibiting arousal, because some (or even most) of the time news needs the shock factors to create impact.


I have again and again use the same example of how the napalm girl photograph stops the Vietnam war, or how Alan Kurdi takes the world by its breath and makes us care more about the migrants crisis.

One may argue as much as they can. They can argue that people get the ideas behind those blurs. They can argue that people get that something bad is happening or has happened. But that effect is nowhere effective compared with our genuine reaction to blood, or even a simple expression from a child.

Our instinct of feeling sick, sad and shock is the very thing that makes us human and drives us towards making decisions instead of just acknowledging information. That is why some news organisation sometimes chooses to air war footages or upsetting pictures. Because sometimes we need to appeal to the humane, so that we understand the importance of the story, so that we may choose to do something about it.

I mean it is only natural for us to feel sad when we see a child who has Microcephaly, or cancer and saw how it makes them struggle. That sadness drives our eagerness to help, to do something about it, or at the very least to prevent our loves ones from getting it. The same goes with war.

Information is only powerful and could only work at its best when it is unaltered when it comes as a whole and interact with our gut.

Not only that it is demeaning for the victim, this logic behind censorship has also diluted much possible information to be digested. In some cases, it is being used as an excuse to block contents for a particular business or an institution needs.

All I’m saying is, if we want to be a saint, then let’s be a saint. Let’s screw our democracy and everything that’s appealing about it, and create our own totalitarian system. Just don’t be a party pooper and make a bloody profit out of it.

“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.”

– Potter Stewart


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