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The following are subject to censorship in the UK:

  • Sex
  • Swearing
  • 'Obscenity' (generally bodily functions, gore, death); anything that offends average taste
  • Certain political views, mainly terrorism/nazism
  • certain attitudes: racism, smoking, etc.
  • 'information' that constitutes intellectual property theft

The following enjoy some level of official exemption from censorship:

  • politics/news forums
  • art
  • official education and research
  • books

The following enjoy some level of 'de facto' exemption from censorship:

  • the internet

The following have absolutely no censorship mechanisms in place:

  • Telephony
  • text-messaging
  • certain internet usages (IRC, webchat, IM, etc)

Censorship is more insidious than open -- i.e., you don't usually know that something's being censored -- and non-voluntary. Children are subject to more censorship than adults.

Censorship by typeEdit


  • The Official Secrets Act outlaws leaking government documents in any medium, even if the public would benefit from the secret knowledge. This prevented, e.g., a memo outlining American plans to bomb the Arab TV station Al Jazeera.
  • Children are censored somewhat from facts pertaining to sex outside of an official educational setting. e.g., no refferences are made to sex in children's stories, books, etc, unless the book is specifically sex-ed related.
  • Information on accused criminals and victims are censored to protect the accused and guilty


  • any facts on a person that cannot be substantiated are censored under libel laws
  • On TV at least, misinformation is censored if it is presented as fact


  • anything 'glorifying' drugs, alcohol or smoking is generally taken as grounds to censor it as far as 'children' are concerned
  • 'inciting' religousism/racism censored under Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and, more generally incitement to commit an offence, censored under another act.
  • The Terrorism Act 2006 prevents the "glorification" of terrorism, akin to the 18th century Sedition Act in the United States.
  • the IWF has also taken it upon itself to block UK sites from hosting 'racist' material


  • Violence is often censored, espescially for entertainment, but also in factual settings.


  • actual offence was abolished in May 2008, although there is speculation that the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 could, in actual fact, criminalise some forms of blashphemy
  • de-facto virtually decriminalised for a long time, tho still grounds for censoring as it may upset people (e.g., nothing too blashphemous before the watershed on BBC).
  • nothing like in America, where 'for gods sake', 'jesus christ', or 'bloody hell' are sometimes considered swearwords.


  • Child porn is illegal (anything sexual involving under 18s)
    • internet access is usually routed through the IWF's CleanFeed to censor child porn
  • Beastiality porn is illegal
  • Porn deemed 'too rough' is illegal
  • Rape-porn is illegal
  • Childeren are 'protected' from porn, via a watershed (no sex on TV before 9.00pm) with general mechanisms in place to censor pornography from children.


  • generally censored on the TV before 9:00, ostensibly to 'protect' children from swear-words.
  • censored swear-words include: shit crap fuck bastard bitch cunt arse tits faggot wank nigger. certain words become swear-words if used as an insult, e.g., jew. 'gay', as a derogatory word, is not censored on the radio at least.


See also: words and porn

Censorship by mediumEdit


Books generally enjoy lesser censorship than other mediums in the UK.

  • "Obscene" books, for example Ulysses, were often censored in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, obscenity laws are much more lax, and focused on public displays of pornography.
  • "Lord Horror" by David Britton was banned for 'obsenity' in 1991.

Internet censorshipEdit

the internet is (attempted) hightly (actually) moderately censored with reguards to porn, and virtually uncensored in other aspects.

  • 95% of UK ISPs use software called Cleanfeed to block images deemed to be potentially child pornography (or is it 'potentially illegal (mainly child porn)?).
  • in datey-datey-date, BT blocked, the second largest BBS on the internet, due to it's frequent child-porn content.

Film censorshipEdit

The British Board of Film Classification censor films, mainly due to swearing, sex, and violence, but also due to 'glorification' of certain acts (drug taking, for example). usually, this censorship takes the form of restricting viewing to:

  • anyone (Uc, U, PG)
  • anyone accoumpanied by an adult or >12 (12A)
  • >11 (12)
  • >14 (15)
  • >17 (18)
  • >17, and further has to be limited to a specialist 'sex shop/cinema' (r18)

local authorities can over-ride the BBoFC's decision to not censor, and can ban a film

Video gamesEdit

Historically, the UK has inherited America's censorship as they translated games from Japanese into English, and England couldn't be arsed to re-translate just so we'd get our own censorship.

This means that, historically, computer games have been the most extremely censored medium with regards to sex and religion, but the most laxly censored children's medium with regards to alcohol (due to the fact that Nintendo of America usually censors 'beer' to 'cider' which means 'non-alcoholic apple juice' in American, but 'strange-tasting beer' in English (what Americans call 'hard-cider')), so there you go.


  • TV is censored heavily before the (9:00pm) watershead, and still quite heavily after that (it's illegal, for example, to show an erect cock on TV at all).
  • The BBC channels are subject to pressure from the governement, who have to periodically renew the public-funded body's permission to raise tax (the TV licence)


Chuck exceptions here:

  • some exceptions for educational/research reasons.
  • de facto: lax censorship on the internet
  • telephony, post, text-message, etc uncensored
  • books generally not censored that excessively


How censored is the infromation about censorship in the UK?

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