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.