Self-censorship as a Socio-political-psychological Phenomenon

Daniel Bar-Tal

2015, 79 pages, 40 NIS


bartal 29 - coverSelf-censorship of information, defined as an act of intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others despite the absence of formal obstructions, serves as an obstacle to the proper functioning of a democratic society by preventing free access to information, freedom of expression, and the flow of information. While it is widely recognized as a necessity in some cases, the key implication of self-censorship in societies is blocking information that may shed new light on various societal issues. The present paper provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for self-censorship, describing its nature and psychological foundations, the motivations that underlie it, the conditions that facilitate its practice, and its societal and individual consequences.

Then the paper focuses on the specific context in which self-censorship especially flourishes – the context of violent conflicts. The Israeli context of intractable conflict is examined in details, and a number of studies referring to the Israeli-Jewish society are described. This part is followed by the discussion concerning the consequences of self-censorship, and finally conclusions are presented.


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