LIES or misinformation, truth and free speech, plus a little bit of rock and roll for soundtrack.
Lately, I have been reading a lot of chatter online by some netizens who do not approve of the administered vaccine for COVID. Fine. As it is, social media has always been a free-for-all venue where dissenting opinions, while understandably unfavorable for some people, are on the other, the battle cries and call to arms for other parties. It should be acceptable to all that the point of free speech is that all opposing views can also be accepted as they are, to be tackled and debated upon according to their merit. As such, this is its sole essence, and whether we like it or not, no one can prevent anyone from saying what they like.
Throughout our history, today might as well be the perfect condition for such exercise of free speech. As everyone is aware, the internet via its social media outlets is the cost-free venue nowadays from where all these voices from left to right of the political spectrum spring from.
In the old days before the internet, however, mass media had been (still is) the one option in case one needed to reach a wider audience. The only difference is, unlike social media, one has to pay for such services. One could either use print (the papers like tabloids and broadsheets), radio or television in order to get their intended message across and to therefore get a much broader circulation.
That meant that for the ordinary then and now, it would have been quite an effort indeed if one were to solely depend on mass media for speaking out and offering any opinion. Thank God for the internet, the right to freely express oneself is unhindered and practically anyone is with a voice. However, the big question of responsibility remains, how free is free?
If one were to hone in only on the anti-vaccine voices and opinions, there really lies a world of difference between expressing a simple personal opinion and purposely disseminating an item of untruth. Telling a lie is different from what others who innocently defend it as nothing but misinformation. The latter conveys that something is inaccurately portrayed while a lie is something that is not founded on facts and ergo untrue. Already, quite a lot of half-baked opinions regarding vaccines as being unsafe, have proliferated online and these are followed with discussions about unfounded theories (and conspiracies) which are seconded by questionable experts.
As it is, us readers just have to be vigilant and be resourceful at researching and proving (or disproving) what we wish to know on the internet. Already platforms like Twitter have resorted to closing down accounts that churn out lies and misinformation. While many insist that this is not a solution, it might make offenders think twice at the beginning. Then, as the guy Snowden had said, the conspiracy thinkers might just dive deeper later on and come up with more subtle untruths for others like us, swimming without a care on the surface.
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