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Censorship - Political

A Guide to Finding Government and Legal Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • censorship
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of the press
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of information
  • net neutrality
  • political aspects
  • mass media
  • Internet
  • social media
  • access control
  • first amendment
  • free speech zones
  • government property
  • war
  • revolution
  • art
  • music
  • religion
  • education
  • television
  • advertising
  • journalism
  • radio
  • bias

Related Topics:
  • Bill of Rights
  • Free Press
  • U.S. Constitution

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

Search Engines

Google and StartPage
Use these search engines to search for government information by typing "site:gov" in the search box preceding your search terms:

  • site:gov "Freedom of Speech"
  • site:mil censorship
Law Review Articles and Annotations

Law reviews are an important resource for legal topics like this one. They can lead you to laws and cases as well as discuss legal theory. A few law journals are indexed in multidisciplinary databases, but the best bang for your buck will be to search LexisNexis Academic and Westlaw Campus Research, both of which provide full-text access to many hundreds of law reviews. You can also search American Law Reports in Westlaw Campus Research for annotations regarding your topic. These annotations lead to laws and cases, both state and federal.

Federal Government Information
Another Brick in the Wall: What Do Dissidents Need from the Internet?

Yes, they can read your email. Coupled with built-in back doors and data access from the telecoms in return for market access, this makes it difficult for those fighting for freedom from repressive regimes to use social media to advance their cause.

China’s Censorship of the Internet and Social Media: the Human Toll and Trade Impact

While American companies, such as Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and Yahoo!, help create and enable China's Golden Shield Police Net, responsible for gross human rights violations, Congress ponders whether filing complaints with the WTO would help.
Y 4.C 44:C 33

Promoting Global Internet Freedom

The Global Online Freedom Act, a bill before the House not likely to pass, would make Tech companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges disclose how they conduct their human rights due diligence to the SEC, including the collection and sharing of personal information with repressive regimes. It would also block the sale of hardware and software that can be used for surveillance, tracking, and blocking Internet activity.
Y 4.F 76/1:112-114

That Which Is Not Obligatory Is Prohibited: Censorship and Incitement in the Arab World

This pre-Arab Spring hearing looks at the state of journalism and journalists in Arab countries from the Middle East to North Africa.
Y 4.F 76/1:110-156

Twitter Against Tyrants: New Media in Authoritarian Regimes

This hearing describes the successes and challenges of using social media in creating political change and what the international community can do to promote an unfettered Internet.
Y 4.SE 2:T 91

U.S. radiotelephone censorship regulations

Y 3.C 33/6:6 R 11

The White House, the Networks, and TV Censorship

Conservatives get up in arms over a law they wrote, and which passed almost unanimously, that allowed the Office of National Drug Control Policy to purchase air time for anti-drug PSA's and also required pro bono air time from the networks, which ONDCP forgave (and which is explicitly allowed in the law) if shows with anti-drug scenes or themes were aired - with ONDCP pre-approval for the credit. House members wondered for which other governmental policies the Networks would be willing to sell out.
Y 4.C 73/8:106-91

U.S. cable and radio censorship regulations

Y 3.C 33/6:6 C 11

Code of wartime practices for the American press

Y 3.C 33/6:2 W 19/2/942-2

The White House, the Networks and TV Censorship

An interesting case on the Office of National Drug Control Policy providing funds to networks that air programs with strong anti-drug messages. The question that follows is how this creates competition between networks and lessens programming diversity. The ONDCP has a large written testimony in defense of their actions. 2000.

The Religious Broadcasting Freedom Act and the Noncommerical Broadcasting Freedom of Expression Act of 2000

A hearing dedicated to fighting the FCC's decision to limit religious broadcasting on noncommerical channels. Arguments arise as to what the difference is between cultural and educational. 2000.
Y4.C73/8: 106-121

First Amendment and Restrictions on Political Speech

A hearing proposing changes in campaign finance reform and whether these changes would infringe on freedom of expression. Includes a lengthy ACLU statement. 1999.
Y4.J89/1: 106/49

Constitutional Issues Raised by Recent Campaign Finance Legislation Restricting Freedom of Speech

This hearing covers the same issue as the above Religious Broadcasting Freedom and Noncommerical Broadcasting Freedom of Expression acts, only two years later with some of the new campaign finance reform enacted. 2001.
Y4.J89/2: 107/20

Television Ratings Systems

This hearing debates whether or not the current television ratings system is efficient. The arguments in this hearing discuss the ratings system and what changes could be made without censoring television programs. 1997.
Y4.C 73/7:S.HRG.105-157

Legal Information
Freedom of Speech, Press, & Assembly

This is a good primer on the history and development of many of today's First Amendment Issues. For each issue studied, a discussion, case decisions, and conclusion are presented. Every subject is approached from several directions. Includes an intro about philosopher John Stuart Mill and the development of the Supreme Court. 1994.
LEGL REF KF 4770 .M39 1994

The Ku Klux Klan, Public Highways, and the Public Forum

A very interesting essay on a very interesting case, this article draws a distinction and explains it between managerial and governmental roles and functions of the state. The case and the article strive to distinguish between expression and communication, and how each can be limited. 2000.
Communications and the Law Vol. 22, No. 4 p. 39-59

The First Amendment's Limitations on the Use of Internet Filtering in Public and School Libraries: What Content Can Librarians Exclude?

This article examines how to approach the issue of internet-filters on library computers. There is controversy stemming from whether the computers are public or private, the amount of discretion a librarian is entitled to, and the capabilities of the filters. Altogether a very complex and interesting debate. 2000.
Texas Law Review Vol. 78, No. 5 p. 1117-1157.

State Regulation of Content of and Representation on Programs Presented by "Public Broadcasting" Television or Radio Stations

This annotation analyzes state and federal cases in which a court has considered whether and to what extent a state can limit or regulate publicly supported programs made up of educational, public interest, and cultural events.
27 ALR4th 375

Law of the Internet

Chapter eight of this book looks at topics associated with censorship. Obscenity laws, child pornography, and indecent speech are just three of the topics highlighted in this chapter. Summaries of cases, statutes, and issues are also given.
LEGL REF KF 390.5 .C6 S771998

Schoolhouse Decisions of the United States Supreme Court

This book contains thirteen edited court decisions written in plain English. Each decision also contains a reference to the unedited court decision. One of these cases deals with banning school library books. Another is about censoring student newspapers.
LEGL REF KF 4118 .S35 1997

"The Case Against Postmodern Censorship Theory"

This article argues against "new" progressive theories of censorship, saying that, in reality, they are the same arguments used in earlier times to justify governmental control of speech. Regardless of the perspective taken, opposing a strong First Amendment is simply censorship.
First Amendment Law Handbook. pp.221-326; LEGL REF KF 4770 .A15 F57 1998-99

Propriety, Under First Amendment, of School Board's Censorship of Public School Libraries or Coursebooks

This annotation gathers case law involving potential First and Fourteenth Amendment violations in situations where school boards have attempted to regulate or remove textbooks, books, or other materials from schools.
64 ALR Fed 771

"Censoring or Censuring Student Speech: A Checklist"

Through analysis of case law, the author offers a checklist to help educators delineate the legal boundaries for suppression of student expression. 1998.
Education Law Reporter. Vol. 121, p. 477; LEGL REF KF 4110 .A2 W47 v. 121

Smolla and Nimmer on Freedom of Speech

This treatise offers a thorough examination of freedom of speech theory and doctrine and is kept current with supplements. 1999.
LEGL REF KF 4772 .N 54 1996 vols. 1 & 2

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