Research article
Issue: № 3 (7), 2016


The article explores the concept of censorship viewed as an integral attribute of any society. The authors describe censorship as a “social blindfold” intended to eliminate the implications triggered by the information warfare. Analyzing the modern regime of restrictions and constraints, the authors explore such relevant concepts as freedom of speech, power, mass media, stereotypes and manipulative technologies shaping an illusionary reality for the people. Censorship is described as a factor of information warfare which aims to filter the information through manipulation of individual and mass consciousness. Summing up the results of the study, the authors define the status and goals of censorship in modern society.

Modern realities generate new challenges calling for adequate solutions. The 21st century has thrown open the doors for a new planetary ideology that has embraced large masses of people, and this process is being accompanied by the isolation of global information space.

The concept of “global information space” acquires different names with different authors. Thus, Western European researchers refer to such terms as “cyberspace”, “information superhighway” or “global information infrastructure”. This space, highway or infrastructure is always manmade and is always confined to some limits.

The establishment of information space has triggered complex implications. Having obtained almost unrestricted access to any kind of information, people tend to use it to create a convenient parallel universe they would like to live in. Information captivates and throws us out of reality which makes it easier to effectuate manipulative technologies. These processes underlie the concept of information warfare which implies systemic liquidation of social values, disruption of spiritual, political and economic foundations of a society.

Systemic disturbance of a set of established values is a multistage process that first and foremost entails identifying chink in the opponent’s armour in order to attack his most vulnerable spots. The most apparent areas of weakness are the blind sides in the semantic space that can be assailed by discording facts, stereotypes and notions that would suddenly assume overwhelming significance through the efforts of media propaganda campaigns. Meanwhile, the society is offered an alternative model of the world founded on its phantasmal illusions and fallacious stereotypes. These illusions and stereotypes will contradict the entire social and historical background of the society’s existence, its historical memory, national traditions and underlying mental paradigms. Ultimately, information warfare acts as a social blindfold and one of the key instruments in attaining power in the current geopolitical environment.

In this day and age, the defense mechanism geared to uphold personal and national identity fails to display comprehensive functional potential unless it relies upon censorship apparatus and seeks to eliminate the implications of the information warfare. Although humanity has always been yearning to break free from censorship and institute the freedom of speech, no period of society’s existence was ever free of censorship. The history of the concept convincingly illustrates its importance. We can say that censorship is an indispensable component of any type of power and acts as an integral element of the state apparatus.

The content and scope of censorship is reflected in the volume and quality of information circulating within a society and available to the society. As a rule, not all information is disclosed to the public because information itself is one of the most important social management tools. To keep some information off the radar, various wordings come into play. For example, authorities may refer to “regulation of information flows” to sweep these flows under the rug.

Secretive nature of some part of information objectively explains and sustains censorship. In other words, as long as the state exists and needs to protect certain secrets, i.e. restrict access to some information, censorship shall thrive in some form or another. Social contradictions and conflicts, clash of interests and needs leading to criticism of ideologies and attitudes bear witness to the existence and active functioning of censorship regime. All of this obviously raises the issue of restrictions imposed on the freedom of speech to manipulate the society.

And so, the new conditions bring about a new market, commercial and economic regulators that largely act as instruments of censorship. Modern regime of restrictions and constrains appears to be rather complex, multidimensional and manifold. The individual, as a result, finds himself living in a world of infinite limitations of various degree of intensity.

One of the key mechanisms of censorship are stereotypes molded on the basis of manipulative technologies of mass media. This invisible day-to-day censorship is shaping an illusionary reality for the people – the reality that can be elegantly and efficiently controlled. Such manipulation presents a system of means intended to exert ideological, social and psychological influence on the audience, modify people’s mentality and behavior in defiance of their actual interests. While censorship is associated with imposition, prohibition and lack of freedom enjoyed by the object of control, manipulation is about transforming the model of the world pursuant to manipulator’s goals, wherein the manipulated masses are left with the illusion of free choice.

That being said, we can say that in the present context, the need for elaboration of anti-manipulative technologies is becoming ever more apparent, along with the need to protect the national information space.

Manipulative potential, obviously, gains momentum in the context of moral and intellectual degradation of a certain part of the population, as was evidenced by the close of the 20th century and at the dawn of the 21st century. All the while, the manipulative routine tends to become ever more primitive. Thus, getting political mileage essentially implies defying political correctness. The people entitled to vote at an election long for scandal, battle, revelation, an eye-opening experience. Very few will actually look into the best election programme – most people won’t even read it and will not cast their vote for a candidate who failed to arouse their curiosity.

Today, we are facing a brand new type of censorship that has systemized and comprehensively analysed the errors and deficiencies of the previous system. The Soviet Union zealously suppressed any symptoms of “dissent” in the humanities, thus establishing powerful social networks that rallied around academic intellectuals. For example, such phenomena as Samizdat and the Soviet rock music served the purpose of disordering state mechanisms.

The modern elite has set up the conditions that have ruled out any chance of social networks rallying around humanitarian intellectuals. Attaining such goal would require taking a number of steps, such as:

  • creating the “laws of the game”, wherein the “big league” of the humanitarian science will suppress originative efforts “from below”;
  • disintegrating contiguous layers of the society to establish segregated systems of values (such as middle managers, for instance) and the corresponding discrete cultures;
  • “feeding up” the big league in order to exercise ultimate control over it, as well as to cover up the financial flow.

We can say that the key objectives of censorship in our society include the following:

  • to act as an insulating instrument discriminating between pseudo-science and genuine science;
  • to mould public opinion that rejects western patterns and values extraneous to the mental paradigm of the people;
  • to exclude proliferation of manipulative technologies accounting for modification of mental paradigms and resulting in violation of health;
  • to make provisions for fundamental education (from school years onwards) by exercising control over teaching efficiency and furnishing scientifically adequate learning material that doesn’t encourage promotion of pseudoscientific views and ideological interpretations.

The key issue in this respect is the disposition of the society that perceives censorship as a hostile concept in virtue of both objective and subjective reasons that have to do with the historic background of both the censorship and the censors. Notably, having renounced the institute of censorship to pursue and impose a brand new model of global order, the European countries have been hiding it within the subsurface of their legislation. Several centuries later, western society has built up a solid and consistent concept that highlights the permissible and the impermissible. The Russian society, on the other hand, currently faces a legislative chaos, since as far as censorship is concerned, the extraneous ideas of what is “good” and what is “evil” differ from the domestic perceptions fundamentally.

In order to really apprehend what needs to be altered in public consciousness and society in general, we have to explore new acceptable censorship technologies and analyse their impact on collective consciousness. Furthermore, whereas these technologies are used for the financial and political benefit of a certain social layer, rather than for the good of the society as a whole, it is imperative to look into potential and existing implications of this kind of abusive practice.