Essays On Book Banning

Essays On Book Banning-19
Where there is smoke, there may very well be fire, but there may also be mirrors.It's often hard to draw the line between perception and practice, between how certain government regulations are viewed and how they're actually being enforced.

Where there is smoke, there may very well be fire, but there may also be mirrors.It's often hard to draw the line between perception and practice, between how certain government regulations are viewed and how they're actually being enforced.

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But the current fuss dates back to this spring, when the Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a particularly stiff response to a query from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, which wanted to publish papers by scientists from countries under embargo.

The Treasury office ruled that the institute could edit a manuscript from a country under embargo, and engage in peer review, but that making any "substantive or artistic alterations or enhancements of the manuscript" would be illegal without a license.

She says the department encourages publishers to approach them with queries.

So why don't the publishers simply apply for a license? "I'm not going to ask permission," Seaver says.

The very mention of the Patriot Act is enough to drive many publishers, writers, librarians, bookstore owners, readers and concerned citizens into a near-paranoid frenzy at the idea that the government is intruding into their personal business, although few can cite specific instances in which that is the case.

Indeed, the marketing department of any given publishing house probably has far more power over free expression in America than any government office; if it decides a smart book won't sell, the publisher may not sign it.

"If even people like me -- those who advocate peace and dialogue -- are denied the right to publish their books in the United States with the assistance of Americans, then people will seriously question the view of the United States as a country that advocates democracy and freedom everywhere," she wrote.

"What is the difference between the censorship in Iran and this censorship in the United States?

Today, most defenders of the written word are focusing their energies on opposing certain sections of the USA Patriot Act, chief among them Section 215, which states that federal investigators can review library and bookstore records under certain circumstances in terrorism investigations.

Larry Siems, the director of international programs at the PEN American Center, strikes an oft-heard chorus when he denounces "the growing use of government surveillance and government intrusion into your creative space." This, in turn, feeds a concern "that the government is able to see more deeply into our intellectual lives," Siems says.

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