So, of course, censorship at Hogwarts was a very big deal – a VERY BIG DEAL – during Order of the Phoenix. Everyone hates Umbridge. Etc. But censoring Hogwarts classes was only a small part of the wider censorship issues that plauged the wizarding world during this time – after all, the Ministry appointing Umbridge and sticking their nose into affairs at Hogwarts was largely because Dumbledore was refusing to allow them to ignore the return of the most evil wizard of all time. And come on – what’s a little zombie wizard Hitler between friends, really?
Seriously, though, unlike the censorship issues at Hogwarts – which I actually do think are worthy of real discussion, because censorship and children is a much more gray area than censorship and adults – this is pretty much just all bad. All bad, all the way around. So, Voldemort returns, kills Cedric, nearly kills Harry, who escapes thanks to matching-wand-core magic to let the world know that Voldie has returned. Theoretically, this would ruin Voldemort’s plans to sneak back into the wizarding world and snatch power before anyone knows he’s back. Fudge’s mind was decribed as “twisted and warped by fear” and the Ministry appeared more interested in discrediting Dumbledore and Harry than facing the possibility of the return of a mass murder.
Working right alongside the Ministry at this point is the Daily Prophet. Building on the foundation of tabloid-like nonsense that Rita Skeeter had laid down during Goblet of Fire (eyes glistening with ghosts of his past! Love triangles!), the Prophet focused on making Harry look like an attention seeking liar, upset that the attention had moved away from him and desperate to get it back. Rather than reporting on the missing persons, the strange deaths or the odd defection of the Dementors which led to a huge prision break, the Prophet chose to focus on making an old man and a teenager out to be insane liars. I don’t think it’s ever made clear whether the Prophet was actually under the Ministry’s thumb or if they simply wanted to ignore the truth as well (correct me if I’m wrong, obvs), but the end result was that the Ministry and the Prophet worked together to conceal the return of Voldemort.
I’m much more comfortable declaring this censorship bad, terrible, awful, and downright irresponsible than I am the censorship at Hogwarts. Because at the end of the day, the Ministry and the Prophet were lying to adults. They knew perfectly well that there was something to be scared of in the dark, and rather than handing out flashlights and batteries, they were trying to teach people to whistle Dixie.