So­cial media

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

De­wan Chand, Suva Ref­er­ence is made to FBC’s 4 the Record Pro­gramme on Sun­day, Novem­ber 20, hosted by Edwin Nand on the is­sue of ‘Chal­lenges of Tra­di­tional Media vs So­cial Media’. It made for in­ter­est­ing lis­ten­ing. Each of the three rep­re­sen­ta­tive s from FBC, FMA and Fiji Sun put for­ward their views on the im­pact of so­cial media on the life of tra­di­tional media such as TV, news­pa­pers and ra­dio.

I got the im­pres­sion that the tra­di­tional media feels threat­ened with the power, pop­u­lar­ity and free­dom of the so­cial media. One of the speak­ers dubbed it as the voice of the voice­less in our so­ci­ety in view of the media con­trol by the rul­ing elites. We have very good ex­am­ples of this in coun­tries around the world. Each of the speak­ers grap­pled with the idea of con­trol­ling so­cial media. One of them said it should have le­gal statu­tory con­trol. This looks pre­pos­ter­ous to me. Ne­mani Delaibatiki made a valid point that so­cial media is here to stay and serve a very useful role. He stressed that peo­ple need to be ed­u­cated not to abuse the free­dom of so­cial media. The idea of parental con­trol was also mooted.

In my view this is an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity. We all know that par­ents have very lit­tle or nil con­trol on the use of com­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vices by their chil­dren. Those who want to con­trol so­ci­ety through media may have to do what China did - to com­pletely block Face­book and cre­ated its own. This is ob­nox­ious and will prevent whis­tle blow­ing for crimes and abuse of of­fice in high places. For those who fol­lowed the re­cent US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion may have re­alised the power of so­cial media over tra­di­tional media. This is per­haps the best way to reach peo­ple where tra­di­tional media dis­plays bias in re­port­ing. In my view so­cial media should be al­lowed to play its im­por­tant role. It is not the role of tra­di­tional media to con­trol so­cial media if we want to al­low free­dom of ex­pres­sion in free so­ci­eties.

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