Saturday, 26 November 2016


Ahead of next year’s national elections in both France and Germany and just days after accepting Obama’s tacit challenge to the Chancellor to keep on rocking in the Free World and announcing her intent to run for a fourth term, the administration of Angela Merkel is crafting plans to make the acoustics better in the echo chamber of phoney news and scare-mongering.
Of course we can’t really alleviate the situation until or unless we can see ourselves individually as at fault as much all those anonymous demographic, test-audience pastiches of useful idiots or that muckraking and yellow-journalism (I tend bundle all these terms together and toss in carpet-baggers and robber-barons as well) have always been around—just with a higher bar to hurdle to curry interest beyond small groups—and it’s our responsibility to use the same platform to defuse or at least navigate the minefield of exaggeration and slander. One legislative reform—which might be long in coming or a dangerous dismantling of freedom of speech—the German government is open to would be regulating social media in the same way as it does the press, making forums responsible for the veracity of the material that they host. What do you think about that? Social media platforms are our course private entities whose most uncensored model has mostly been profitable for them up until more and not the guarantors of freedom of expression. In as such, they have not been charged with the same degree of integrity and responsibility as traditional journalism. What does independence from government interference mean when an organisation does not need to look after its own repute? Does it become an arm of the state media then and something with an off-switch? If the campaign strategists behind this populist furore in the US are already plotting their succession plans for European elections, perhaps a judicious nudge for democratic principles is in order.