Information is power. Information is knowledge. Information is safety. Information is health. A lot have been said about how important information is in the lives of citizens. Obviously, the more we get informed, the more we develop a critical mind- a mind that is empowered, a mind that questions, a mind that challenges, a mind that doubts, a mind that is not easily manipulated, a mind that makes right decisions, a mind that is free from slavery , a mind that is not biased, a mind that is free from stereotypes and prejudices, a mind that is less egoistic, a mind that is not corrupt, a mind that believes in justice and equality, a mind that is more humane and a mind that defends truth.
Because governments understand the empowerment that information gives to the citizens, they determinedly work not to allow the citizens to have access to information. Yea, people who have no access to information will have a mind which is opposite to the one I have described above. Naturally, those who control information, control the society. They control the media and disseminate distorted, biased and manipulated information that they believe would make the citizens dull and passive-those who never act or react to whatever their governors do to them.
By the way, those who control information even aspire to control people’s souls and spirits. They want everybody to turn into zombies. These people believe that they are the only defenders of truth. What others write or speak are not truths. They know that if others speak or write, what these people regard as truth will be unveiled and their lies come to surface thereby exposing their evil deeds.
Look, in the 21st c, many things have changed enormously as far as information dissemination is concerned. The advancement in information and technology has made the dissemination of news and views are so easy fast. Nowadays, citizens are not confined to consuming only the traditional media which are mostly controlled and operated by the states as it is the case in our country. This is so because social media is changing the information landscape in a very fast pace. Citizens are getting more freedom to express their opinions, views and feelings. Indeed, the social media has created a platform for citizens to discuss and debate. Now, everybody speaks. Everybody influences. People are more connected to one another than ever before. This connection via social media has enabled the citizens to converse on important issues that matter to them-identity, culture, language, politics, and economy and so on. Here I have to admit the fact that social media has got its own deficiencies. But for now I am more impressed by its good qualities than the bad ones.
The main stream media are now closely following people’s reactions about the news and information that they publish. They ask the citizens to comment or reflect on the news of the day. They have started to recognize citizens’ active participation in the dissemination of news and views. Citizen journalism is becoming more influential in process of helping the people have informed opinions about issues happening locally and globally. Now, the time has passed, not to come back, for those who still aspire to control the society by controlling the main stream media (TV, radio, newspapers).
Actually, these people (the governors) are not happy with the social media because these people know that the social media are empowering the citizens and this makes it difficult for them to fool the people as they used to do before. In fact, these people are devising different tactics in order to impede the free exchange of information by people via the social media. We often see that some social media sites are blocked simply because they have got different contents or views.
But still that activity doesn’t seem to stop people from getting information because they have got different thousands of alternatives. Many savvy people are having access to these blocked sites by cracking them easily. This fact will remain a headache for those who want tell the society only their own versions of truths.
Indeed, social media has given us unprecedented opportunities for freely expressing our views, opinions, feelings and perceptions based on our understandings of events or situations that directly and indirectly affect our lives. LONG LIVE SOCIAL MEDIA! WITHOUT YOU, WE WOULD HAVE REMAINED MUZZLED!