Censorship: Hopefully Not Contagious

by Garret Ean
Apr 3 2012

The issue of censorship has recently been raised in the Concord Monitor, in pieces by Felice Belman which appeared last week as well as today. In a March 27 article, the editor discussed how some individuals who had been quoted from stories in the past wished to conceal themselves from a search query, as they no longer wished to be associated with their statements. While addressing their concerns, the matter is concluded flatly that, “The Monitor isn’t in the business of rewriting history. Our online news archives are an important historical resource, for the public and for the newsroom staff.”

In a story published today titled The Letter You Won’t Read, we learn about a retracted letter to the editor. The letter included a name in the attached contact information, but was signed as anonymous. With the Monitor having a policy against publishing unsigned articles (except when someone is able to sign their article as ‘Monitor Staff’), they contacted the author, informing her that they would be willing the publish the article with an authentic name attached. On those conditions, she withdrew the letter.

Censorship of a form of media, no matter what the content may be, automatically adds interest to the item being censored. The extent to which we are told the content of the letter is confined to two sentences. “The writer had composed a strong and succinct argument against casino gambling. She was distressed to learn that the same lobbyists were working for both the New Hampshire Police Association and a casino company and that the cops had come out in favor of casinos.” The Monitor’s editor expresses her depression in feeling that someone would so fear repercussions in our open society that they would self censor to such an extent. Her suggestion was countering such fear with more letters to the editor.

While more honest and intelligent letters to newspapers are appreciated, by editor and audience alike, preferably one chooses to publish their work in another medium which suits their needs rather than to trash content that they have taken the time to create. If the author of the self-censored letter wishes to get her story viewed by interested parties, I certainly hope that she takes the initiative to do so.

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