(Social) Media

As said several times before, the (social) media plays an important part in this virus situation were are in globally. Thanks to (social) media, we now have a virological worldview. Wherever you look or go, it’s all about this virus, almost as if there is nothing else going on in this world. You could say, we now live in a virological dictatorship. How did we get there?

In my country, we have trias politica. Trias politica, or the three powers doctrine or the separation of powers, is de theory of the constitution in which the state is divided into three bodies that monitor each other’s functioning. The three powers are: legislative, executive and judiciary. You could say that the media is the fourth power. They serve as a conduit, they should engage in truthfinding and ask critical questions. And then we have social media; a whole new ball game.

Ever since the beginning of this virus situation, I have missed truth-finding and critical questions in our mainstream media. And now there is a new phenomena: ‘factcheckers’ and censorship. And it is coming up quickly, like diarrhea. Accounts, pages and channels are removed when they don’t fit the narrative of our government. To be honest, it scares the hell out of me. Because when censorship occurs, democracy is going down the drain. Your head will be filled with one narrative only (based on fear for this virus) and you can no longer do research yourself. You are deprived of the opportunity to give or hear a contrary opinion.

Censorship is serious stuff, my friends! As a lawyer, Isa Kriens, says (and I translate her here freely): it goes against the freedom of speech. It erodes this very important fundamental right and it ensures that dissenters are dismissed as extremists (even the voice of doctors, lawyers and so on!). Nowadays you are crazy if you dare to think that the newspaper and the news on tv do not give a complete picture of reality. If you have doubts or questions about state propaganda, you are a danger to democracy. You can certainly wonder (in this situation) when something is fact or disinformation. Who decides that, who pays for it and with what interest? Why should you have faith in your government when you feel that there is a lot wrong in the disclosures? Opposition is not a danger to democracy; it is a danger to the incumbent power. Justifying/executing censorship is stupid and dangerous. It is a violation of our fundamental rights and that is something you shouldn’t want. I couldn’t agree more or said it better!

To spice things up some more: it is no big deal to keep social distance, it is no big deal to wear a mask, you might think it is no big deal that they are taking away your privacy through the track and trace app. This is all promoted by our media. It is like a daily tidal wave. And of course we don’t want  to endanger other people and of course we want to ease the pressure on healthcare. Of course we want to cooperate. The question that should be asked is: for how long? Because: who says this virus will ever disappear?

My question is: instead of trying to change the behavior of people by social distancing and wearing masks, maybe we should learn how to live with this virus? Some people disagree and say: just cooperate, because it is what it is. But this is simply not true. It is what you allów. Think about it. History teaches us that when you surrender your fundamental rights, it is difficult to get them back. I think our King said it well: ‘do not normalise what is not normal.’ And to me personally, freedom of speech is a very important fundamental right I am not willing to surrender.

What’s it like in your country? I am curious! Care to share?

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