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I just came across this:

At one point, Data makes a reference to the Irish Reunification of 2024, and because of that, the BBC refused to air the episode. It didn’t air on the U.K. government’s station until 2007, though it did air on satellite and cable (sometimes with that reference cut), and was released unedited on DVD in the U.K.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/12/star-trek-the-next-generation-rewatch-the-high-ground

The episode was Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The High Ground", the one where Dr Crusher is abducted by "terrorists".

Since Star Trek has always touched upon "touchy" subjects, I'm curious about any other examples of government censorship of Star Trek.

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I really enjoyed the anecdote about how William Shatner forced the studio's hand on the first inter-racial kiss depicted on TV. Had you heard it? It is discussed in another question about these parts. –  Andrew Thompson Jan 5 at 11:47
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You mean this question scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/28914/…? –  UwF Jan 5 at 12:48
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See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato%27s_Stepchildren. Btw, I wasn't aware of the fact that this episode was withdrawn by the BBC in the UK because of 'sadistic plot elements' during the initial run in 1971 and was not shown until a repeat run in January 1994. –  UwF Jan 5 at 12:49
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You probably want examples of censorship for content reasons, but viewers should realize that old TV shows like Star Trek are routinely edited and sped up for length so more commercials can be added today. Trek ran for 51 minutes out of an hour broadcast when it was first run. Programs run around forty-three minutes today. –  Kyle Jones Jan 6 at 5:44
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“the U.K. government’s station” — just to nit-pick the quote, the BBC is independent of (and often in conflict with) the UK government. –  Paul D. Waite Jan 10 at 13:10

4 Answers 4

Several episodes of Trek have been censored or simply not shown over the years. Assuming your question relates to the UK, then four instances are notable;

TOS : The Empath, Whom the Gods Destroy, Plato's Stepchildren and Miri were all removed from the broadcast schedule for over 10 years due to containing subjects of "madness, torture, sadism and disease" in a show that the BBC considered to be intended for children.

BBC letter

Additionally, "violent images" were removed from certain episode including TNG: "Conspiracy" (showing the aftermath of Remick being shot with phasers by Picard and Riker), TNG: "The Icarus Factor" (in which Worf is repeatedly hit with Klingon 'painstiks') and the removal of a line from "The High Ground" which relates to Irish reunification.

Worf hit with Pain Sticks Remick aftermath from Icarus Factor

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FWIW, I'm interested in any government censorship, not just UK. Very interesting response. –  Jolenealaska Jan 5 at 9:25
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It's also interesting, and somewhat bizarre, that anyone, anywhere, anytime would think of Star Trek as a "children's show". –  Jolenealaska Jan 5 at 10:16
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The BBC has a long history of considering anything genre-based to be essentially intended for kids –  Richard Jan 5 at 15:17
    
+1 for the pictures ...ouch! –  Canadian Girl Scout Jan 6 at 3:21
    
@Jolenealaska I watched it as a kid. I will definitely watch it with any child in my care. Kids are basically tiny adults who need to learn - sparking the imagination is just a bonus. –  Dacio Apr 17 at 16:50

The episode "Patterns of Force" (Star Trek: The Original Series, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterns_of_Force_%28Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series%29) from February 16, 1968 was banned in Germany from 1968 until 1995 due to the depiction of Nazi symbols and Nazi uniforms. It was finally shown on German pay TV in 1996. When ZDF showed it for the first time on a public network channel - in 2011, more than 40 years after it was filmed, it was not on until after 10pm - and viewers were warned that no-one under the age of 16 should see it. See also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2057908/Germans-boldy-Nazi-Star-Trek-episode-43-years-filmed.html.

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As Spock would say, "fascinating". 1995, 1996 and 2011??? wow –  Jolenealaska Jan 5 at 10:19
    
Yes, 1995 on video, 1996 on pay TV, 2011 on a public channel. The Swastika and other symbols of Nazi organisations are illegal in Germany (see, in German, de.wikipedia.org/wiki/…, or, in English, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strafgesetzbuch_section_86a). But I don't quite understand how this would have changed in the mid-nineties. Maybe it would have been legally possible to show this episode much earlier... –  UwF Jan 5 at 11:32
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There's an exception for depicting the emblems in a documenting/art context. Movies, TV series, etc. are considered art in these regards; just not video games (unfortunately). So there was literally no legal reason not to show that episode far earlier (at least as far as I know). There've been similar concerns regarding Hogan's Heroes, which premiered in Germany some time during the 90's. Back to this episode: I think one of the reasons might have been the conclusion of the episode, which shows the planet's leader as "not that bad guy". –  Mario Jan 5 at 11:46
    
@Mario Yes, there are exceptions for "acts serving to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes", but interpreting laws is not an exact science. Take for example the discussion in 2005-2006, when a judge applied the law to Anti-fascism symbols (which contained, e.g. broken swastikas). For me it is still not clear whether the decision not to show this episode in the sixties and seventies was due to fear of legal consequences or public reaction. –  UwF Jan 5 at 13:35
    
Back then the public stations (especially the ZDF) were rather "conservative" and censored lots of stuff prematurely, for the TV audience because they "cared". One example would be the heavily cut/censored airing of Omen 2 in 1984. The interesting part is the fact that the opener is probably more disturbing than the whole movie, especially in this version. ;) –  Mario Jan 5 at 14:18

Outside of the UK, the DS9 episode Rejoined and TOS episode Plato's Stepchildren were both censored in several markets due to homosexual and interracial kissing, respectively. There were also instances in TOS where Roddenberry was forced by Paramount to drop, add, or change certain lines of dialogue, notably the episode Who Mourns for Adonais?, in which one of Kirk's lines was altered from (this is from memory, so I may be off slightly) "Humanity no longer needs gods!" to the more middle-America-friendly "Humanity no longer needs gods! It does fine with just the one!"

Outside of the major coastal networks in the US, various local affiliates would censor, cut from and (rarely) add to existing episodes as their whims dictated, to the point where for everyone outside of California and the American East Coast could only see full episodes at sci-fi conventions.

I am unaware, however, of any government censorship of Star Trek outside of the previously noted British examples. I am certain, however, that certain unsavoury regimes have doubtless censored Star Trek, much as they've censored other television programs in the past.

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The second part of the quote was "We find the one quite sufficient". I'm less certain about the first half. –  Keith Thompson Jan 5 at 23:12
    
Thank you for that. –  James Sheridan Jan 6 at 7:02
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Strictly speaking the BBC is not "government". –  Martin Schröder Jan 6 at 9:43
    
@ Martin - I did think that it was an odd expression but you can easily see how someone could make that mistake given that it's essentially funded by a form of taxation. –  Richard Jan 6 at 17:53

According to Memory Alpha, a scene in the episode "Harbinger" (Enterprise) was visually altered by UPN on its original airing to "crop out" Jolene Blalock's nudity.

The link above has a (slightly NSFW) picture if you wish to be fully informed on the subject. :)


Edit: just noticed that the question specifically asks for examples of government censorship. I'll leave this answer up and let the votes decide if it applies.

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I think it should apply, since most governments don't exercise direct editorial control over TV networks (not even the BBC). The way "government censorship" usually works is through broadcasting standards, anti-obscenity laws and tacit agreements with industry for self-censorship (e.g. the the MPAA and ESRB). So it's up to each network or industry censorship board to apply those legal or implied standards to the broadcasts/publications they oversee. Only in very few cases are government officials able to intervene directly and demand a specific work be censored. –  Lèse majesté Jan 10 at 3:26

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