eli5 what is the difference between censorship and redaction? when the government releases files for the public, they redact quite a bit of information. Isn’t that censorship?
Words have specific meanings and its important not to conflate them
When we talk about government censorship its “thou shalt not talk about Tiananmen square”, a blanket ban on all discussion related to a topic with penalties for breaking it. It’s not about providing/receiving information from certain sources, its about a broad topic that’s just forbidden
Redactions are significantly different. That’s the government saying “i’m not going to tell you this specific thing” and not “discussion of this topic is prohibited”. They are generally quite limited in scope and have to tie back to a specific government interest like another project that’s still classified or an information source that would be at risk.
Similarly, secret documents are controlled and confidential but they’re narrow in scope. You can’t share the exact specs of an F-35’s radar because that information poses a national security risk but you can know that its an AN/APG-81 and speculate on its specs and if you happen to get it right there isn’t a penalty for that. *The Hunt for Red October* was apparently concerningly accurate, but as it was all pieced together from non-classified sources it was fine
Basically, censorship is generally external— someone, usually a government entity, forcing someone else to not say something, stop saying something, or perhaps retract and decry something they’ve already said.
Redaction is generally internal— something an entity does themselves, usually in preparation for transmitting information to another entity. For example, a company being sued might redact personal health information about people who aren’t involved in the case, the government might choose not to provide information in its documentation that might compromise national security or endanger specific persons, or a news agency might redact the name of a victim of an alleged crime.
Can it be simplified to roughly, ‘censorship is deleting material for morality reasons, and redaction is hiding information for legal reasons’?
Censorship is telling people what they’re allowed to write or publish.
Redaction is withholding information.
If the govt controls the release of info about the war in Afghanistan, that’s redaction. If the govt tells you that you’re not allowed to write about Afghanistan (or tells you what you’re allowed to write), that’s censorship.
Censorship is usually about the government forcing *other* people (like television channels or book publishers) to remove information from their media. For instance, in Russia, journalists are being jailed for writing bad things about the war and government. That is censorship. Or sometimes it could be something outright silly (like not being allowed to show ghosts in movies or show other countries in a good light or really anything you can think of).
Redaction is when someone … self-censors, in a way. They are saying, “I will include this information but not that information”.