Posted by: Jawellnofine on Oct 12, 2011
My distaste for the content of the Protection of Information Bill has nothing to do with the posits of the media or the loud-hailing exclamations of the altruist anti-bill lobby groups, for these are mainly emotive posturings that do not actually carry ‘our’ welfare at heart.
The media is fighting for its continued survival and earning-ability while the anti-bill lobby groups are just voicing a narrow altruistic opinion using ‘your rights are being meddled with’ as a hide behind.
It is like the motion being pushed by certain so-called social-minded groups on the advocacy of whistle blowing: did not Stalin and Hitler propagate the ethos of whistle blowing to further their hostile careers – at the start it was very noble to tattle-tale on so-called enemies of the state? Yes, in a democracy the intent may be the-right-thing-to-do but humans have the uncanny inclination to always swings good-intentions in the wrong direction. Thus my distrust of the whistle blowing culture!
The other media culture that does not sit well with me is when the media obtains information by dubious means and then hides behind the in-the-public-interest whipping horse. Two wrongs do not make a right. If we start rationalising that it is ok to cheat, lie and swindle so long as it is in the public’s interest, then decency is doomed to the evils of rationalisation.
The government too is guilty of playing with words to bamboozle the voting public so as to control or gain an advantage on policies they want to enact. They mostly hide behind good intentions using simplified euphemisms (speed kills) and generalised terms (we have been mandated) to sugar-coat a wrong doing or to get contrived support for a certain policy.
Freedom of speech embodies the ability to say, debate, postulate and argue without the fear of prosecution and or retaliation. In theory that is all very nice but in reality, the supposition falls down flat for there is always retaliation for saying something that goes contrary to what the ‘law’ of the land may be. There are always repercussions for saying something that is contrary to what some believe to be the truth.
It takes common sense to utter something without having the world come down around oneself. As the Roman poet, Decimus Junius Juvenalis, so realistically stated in the 2nd century AD: Dat veniam corvis, vexat censura columbas (Censure acquits the raven, but pursues the dove.)
It is interesting to know that many have understood that progress comes with dissidence and friction: "Free societies...are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction.” – Salmon Rushdie. “All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions." - George B Shaw.
Thus give me freedom of information but banish the bill for the opposite is too terrible to contemplate. As Harry S. Truman, once stated in a message to the American Congress in 1950: Once a government is committed to the principles of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
I stand for the freedom of speech in all it guises; and to listen to the news without the wordiness of innuendo and opinion-shaping agendas.