Commons:What Is Not Censorship

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Jump to: navigation, search


Commons has a strong policy against censorship, encapsulated under COM:NOTCENSORED as the principle that Due to their educational value for the understanding of certain subjects, Commons may host material that some users may find objectionable, distasteful, or offensive for various reasons. This is important for defending the educational priorities of Commons.

However the policy of hosting such material in order to support its educational mission in no way limits Commons' ability to regulate how and when such content may be displayed. Nor does the underlying principle - of placing educational mission above users' sensibilities - require Commons to permit such material to be displayed anywhere and everywhere to anyone without distinction.


What Commons' anti-censorship policy states[edit]

The policy of "Commons is not censored" means that a lawfully-hosted file, which falls within Commons' definitions of scope, will not be deleted solely on the grounds that it may not be "child-friendly" or that it may cause offense to you or others, for moral, personal, religious, social, or other reasons.

Due to their educational value for the understanding of certain subjects, Commons may host material that some users may find objectionable, distasteful, or offensive for various reasons.

What is censorship[edit]

At its core, censorship is the suppression of information or opinion by a controlling body (usually a government).

Suppressing information or opinion[edit]

JS Mill on censorship

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

Falsifying historical documents[edit]

Yezhov is clearly visible to Stalin's left. The photo was later altered by censors.
  • Example: the political purges of Joseph Stalin, where the Soviet government attempted to erase some purged figures from Soviet history, and took measures which included altering images and destroying film. See en:Censorship of images in the Soviet Union.

What is not censorship[edit]

  • Empowering users is not censorship. For example, allowing users to decide whether to include certain kinds of content in search results.

See also[edit]