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Published on December 16th, 2015 | by EJC

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Key Debates On ‘Soft Censorship’

Censorship is not always easy to spot.

Governments may exert pressure on journalists or outlets using roundabout tactics that are not as overt as violence, imprisonment and closures.

Known as soft censorship, these indirect restrictions on speech are just as effective at curbing press freedom.

It could be through economic pressures, like state aid and advertising; or bribery; or onerous licensing; yet regardless of the mode in which it occurs,  soft censorship represents a hidden, but crucial impediment to media freedom.

“Soft censorship is less noticed than direct attacks on press freedom like assaults on journalists, but is even more widespread,” said Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA, “[it] is pervasive, but not yet recognised for its grave and growing threat to media independence and press freedom.”

To explore key debates on the topic of soft censorship and how it impacts media freedom, CIMA and WAN-IFRA held an online debate on 9 December 2015. Valeria Sinden, from the National Endowment for Democracy, summarised the discussion below:

Photo: Cory Doctorow

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