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Self-censorship occurs when someone censors or makes changes to their work out of fear, either imagined or factual. This form of censorship may also occur out of deference to a superior, as well as out of expediency for the individual. It's important to note that no direct pressure gets placed on the person who censors himself, but rather he realizes that it may be best to edit or omit particular salient pieces of information. Self-censorship commonly occurs in all forms of media.

With the proliferation of blogs and other mediums of self-publishing, many people have wrestled with the concept of self-censorship. Everyone has read about employees who defame their boss and company, and then soon find themselves unemployed. These serve as warnings, which further promote the idea of censoring oneself.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. What do you know about censorship? What do you think "self-censorship" means?

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. What can be said about self-censorship?
               a. It occurs when someone pressures another.
               b. It occurs in newspapers, magazines, online, and elsewhere.
               c. People who don't censor themselves often get fired.
               d. Self-censorship is a warning.
  2. What would be the best title for this article? Why do you think so?
               a. "Self-censorship Protects"
               b. "Censorship and the Media"
               c. "Censor Yourself... Or Beware!"
               d. "Censorship at Work"

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Have you ever faced censorship? If yes, when? What did you do?
  2. Have you ever censored yourself? If yes, when? What did you censor?
  3. Why do you think censorship continues, especially self-censorship? What can be done?

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