Chairperson of the Barbados Broadcasting Authority, Dr. Allyson Leacock, has announced a campaign to address the incidence of fake news on social media and her action has been backed by Mr. Peter Boyce of Madd Comedians fame.
Neither Dr. Leacock nor Mr. Boyce has indicated what specific fake news they are referring to. But we can make an educated guess, even if we fake it.
The Barbados Broadcasting Authority represents the so-called established media in this country so can we assume that the chairperson is speaking on behalf of all members of that confederation or is that fake news? We would like to know but for now we can reasonably assume the affirmative.
Even if one were not privy to any of the advertising copy of this campaign, one could easily support its theme. “Think Before You Click” is good advice; fake news can indeed do harm to the reputation of individuals.
However, our legal system already has ample provision embedded its libel laws and law of torts to protect the reputation of individuals from the excesses of social media.
So, what legislative changes does the BBA chairperson envisage? A requirement for blogs to be registered? For anyone using social media to be licensed? Does the Chairperson really know what is free speech or does she think it is only for the established media?
We suspect that it is not so much the abuse of social media that has inflamed the BBA chairperson but the empowerment of the people through the ubiquitous communication technology, known as the Internet of Things, that has ignited the ire of the BBA.
That empowerment has now shown its ability to expose corruption, change the course of a war and subject a murderous, theocratic regime to enormous global pressure not to mention disrupt diabolical, dystopian agendas!
Moreover, that technological empowerment has the ability to disturb a soporific, robotic media that still believes that its role is simply to report facts rather than report and critically analyze them.
Barbadians who are fully awake and have been following events in the USA, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, are very much aware that muzzling freedom of expression is the first weapon of choice for dictatorial governments, established media and the architects of dystopia.
I wish to remind you that the BBA chairperson has not said anything explicit about ‘muzzling freedom of expression’ – that we are aware of. We are just reading between the lines while we still have the luxury of being able to think for ourselves and share our thoughts, however murky those might be, with our fellow citizens here and across the globe.
The recent takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk and his pledge to reverse the suppression of free speech there should send a clear signal to the BBA Chairperson that her planets are out of alignment.
Perhaps it is an opportune moment to remind the Chairperson that we have not yet been trans-humanized to that comatose state the World Economic Forum would like to impose on us nor have we reached the dystopian condition, where we can be arrested for just thinking about a crime, as is so powerfully portrayed by director Steven Spielberg in the film Minority Report.
Up to this point, it is people who have committed real crimes that get arrested and since this is still a democracy, the public has the right to comment on such arrests. I am confident that most of us also have the ability to pick the meat from such comments and throw away the bones.
Our antennae are now extended to the max since this organization intimates that it has made representation for the Broadcasting Act and regulations “as they currently exist to be updated” to reflect the new telecommunications realities.
Furthermore, since the illustrious chairperson has not chosen to take us into her confidence with regard to the substance of those representations, we can only speculate about them, thus running the risk of spreading more fake news.
Evidently, the input of the public is not at all important to these representations so we will hear about them by and by when any change in the legislation reaches the House of Assembly, if it ever does.
In any case, all those accused of promoting “fake news” should now stay tuned to the Chairperson’s pronouncements on this matter and pay more than passing attention to the proceedings in the House of Assembly. We should at least thank the BBA leader for the heads up.
On a more philosophical note, we must submit that the notion of fake news begs the obvious question: whose news is the truth? Indeed, anyone who has undertaken the arduous task of taking a doctoral degree, like the chairperson has, knows that that question constitutes a constant warning to the doctoral student throughout his or her journey.
We think that ordinary Barbadians, those who are truly awake, can now say with Rastafari that they “overstand” the importance of that question – whose news is the truth – even without the benefit of a doctoral degree. That “overstanding” comes naturally after you realize that you have been deceived and lied to again and again and yet again.
If it is indeed moral outrage which is driving the chairperson’s intervention we would want to know whether she sees any conflict of interest in being the Director of the National Transformation Initiative, a government entity and her chairmanship of the BBA.
Perhaps she will find it easy to label the insinuation there as “fake news” because in the parallel universe in which we are being pressured to live, there is no such thing as conflict of interest; only power and control.
We can make a similar argument about medical professionals who still ignore documented “alternative facts” relating to the toxic effects of the covid19 vaccines or as we prefer to call them, “vexxines”.
With regard to Mr. Boyce, we can certainly hope that he has made peace with his conscience – if not with his Maker- with respect to the inuendoes he and his Madd team have made over the years about people like Mrs. Ram Mirchandani. Back then there was no fake news; only hilarious double entendre.
But Dr. Leacock is right; there is a new reality setting in. It is a shift in the balance of information power. And that, is our point of departure.
Dr. Aldon Tull is a retired educator who also appears on 246 Bajan Vibes Radio on Saturdays 9.00 – 12.00 local time
See also https://barbadosuncensored.com/2022/10/27/three-rs-tumble-in-barbadian-schools-time-to-play-the-blame-game