Censorship in European Communist StatesBack to modules »
Censorship was a widespread practice in much of the 20th century even across democratic regimes in the world. However, the scale of censorship, its extent, its systematic nature, and the grave repercussions experienced for not obeying its rules turned it into a key instrument for maintaining political power under Communism. "Double speech" was its alpha and omega. Communist regimes often employed leftist humanitarian vocabulary to veil and even justify institutionalized state-level repression that was, in turn, not allowed to be criticized, or only to a very limited extent. Citizens were forced to code their critical messages and developed practices of self-censorship to avoid harassment. The objective of this module is to introduce students to such practices, and make them aware how the level of censorship varied in the different countries and decades. By digging into the COURAGE Registry, students will discover a variety of strategies to circumvent state censorship.