self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own discourse. this is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media.
in authoritarian countries, creators of artworks may remove material that their government might find controversial for fear of sanction by their governments. in pluralistic capitalist countries, repressive judicial lawmaking can also cause widespread "rivercrabbing" of western media.
self-censorship can also occur in order to conform to the expectations of the market. for example, the editor of a periodical may consciously or unconsciously avoid topics that will anger advertisers, customers, or the owners in order to protect their livelihood either directly (i.e., fear of losing their job) or indirectly (e.g., a belief that a book will be more profitable if it does not contain offensive material). this phenomenon is referred to as soft censorship.
article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights guarantees freedom of speech from all forms of censorship. article 19 explicitly states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”