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4 December 2017

Pupils Tackle Censorship in Debating Competition

King’s pupils put their debating skills to the test in the final round of the annual Inter-House Debating Competition earlier this term. The teams tackled the motion, “This house believes that artistic expression should never be censored.”

The competition, which consists of three rounds, saw Bishop Fox emerging victorious for the second year running.

The successful house, ably led by Lorcan Cudlip-Cook and Werner Groenestijn, opposed the motion, arguing that while the majority of controversial art should be available, there are clear exceptions to this rule.

Werner used the example of manga, a popular Japanese style of art, to argue that one may find extant examples of child pornography depicted as artwork. He further argued that while Japanese laws permit this exploitative material to be circulated under the protection of its status as art, this should certainly not be the case for the rest of the world.

Lorcan backed the argument, agreeing that such cases demand responsible censorship. Drawing upon the work of Plato, who argues that censorship is vital to the moral health of the young, he explored the notion that these beliefs are largely verified by contemporary science.

“The psychological landscape of a child is moulded by what they are exposed to,” he disputed. “While the causal relationship is rarely as simple as direct imitation, studies show a clear correlation in young people between exposure to violence and its perpetration.”

The panel of judges was chaired by the Headmaster, Richard Biggs, and included the Head of Sixth Form, Oliver Ridley, and the Head of Art, Clare Schmidt.

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