The recent Harry Potter series of books has been of huge benefit to children's reading. Where literally millions of children would be staring at the television or in a trance in front of the Playstation, they have taken to reading books. Surely this can only be good for them?.
According to many uninformed parents, no. They do not want their innocent, impressionable children being seduced by the evils of the occult and witchcraft that is so explicitly depicted throughout these books. So poor little Johnny is ordered to stay away from the sinful books and get back to his "TV dinner" and the "X-Files".
This is a simplified view of the situation, but the moral background to the issue of censorship has long been subject of intricate debate. In the example of Harry Potter, the banning of Rowling's books in schools and libraries seems excessive and self-defeatist considering the gains to children of reading popular literature. There are of course also arguments for censorship, especially when dealing with the extremes in books and other media that is entirely based on insulting certain groups of people.
The book "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain is considered by many to be racist because of repeated use of degrading terms. However racial equality emerges as a theme of this book.
But who judges what the public have access to? To an extent, peoples existence is defined by what books they read, what newspapers and magazines they subscribe to and what films they watch. When anybody has control over what can be read and what cannot, they can control the entire demeanour of those peoples. Even with stringent legislation almost any wording of censorship law could be contorted by someone with the intention of restricting information. Under Hitler, Nazi Germany was very careful about what image was being presented in domestic press and literature and nobody wrote to many critical articles. .
Due mainly to the rapid increase in graphical quality (and hence realism), censorship of video games has recently also become an issue.