It is no surprise that during the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest , the jaws of many viewers hit the floor. The show which is notorious for its flamboyancy, eccentricity and cheesiness hit screens all across the globe for its latest instalment last weekend. While the contest is no stranger to scandal and controversy, a clear example of this being the protester who rushed on stage and stole the mic during this year’s UK performance, the most recent jaw-dropping incident was something much more serious than terrible singing or a costume malfunction.
When being aired in China, the broadcaster Mango TV censored its footage by blurring out rainbow flags and skipping altogether Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s performance because it featured images of men holding hands. All broadcasters in China are state-owned and therefore regulated by their government. While it may seem insane to many of us, censorship like this is not uncommon in China. Broadcasters must seek local approval from the Communist party before airing, with Beijing stating it will only permit things that ‘do not threaten national or political security’, including international channels like BBC World news.
Censorship in any form seems to me to have no justification.
However, it seems to have extended beyond this. Not only is the Chinese government seeking to isolate its citizens from international knowledge but it also seems to have launched a crusade against social progression. While it is true that homosexuality is not illegal, the sexual orientation is heavily stigmatized and rejected. The media censorship employed in China is simply perpetuating the notion that homosexuality is abnormal, thus prohibiting society from making the step forward that many of us are proud to have taken.
Further to this, other areas of censorship unrelated to societal security include tattoos. I stand wholeheartedly with the rights and campaigns of the LGBTQ community, but as someone identifying as heterosexual I cannot comment from a personal perspective. However, as someone who has a set of discrete tattoos I find this censorship offensive. The connotations clearly associated with body art by the Chinese government is as outdated as the concept of censorship itself. The fact that I have a drawing on my skin dictates nothing whatsoever about my character, morals or behavior and the idea of being judged by them, to the point of prohibiting people from viewing them, is both disappointing and astounding.
Censorship in any form seems to me to have no justification. In these cases, where the content is in no way harmful or wrong, there is clearly a misuse of power and strong bias. Beyond this, censoring what people see or hear and therefore limiting their access to knowledge is equally as abhorrent. To have a chance at progressing as a society, a country and a human race, censorship must be removed and information be readily available. The key to understanding different perspectives, ideas and beliefs is to learn about them. Not only are the social norms being instilled by the Chinese authorities both backwards and presently unacceptable, but the employment of censorship of any kind will stand in the way of the country and its people from moving towards a global community that we can all be proud of.