15.10.2014

Alternative media

In the good old days, whenever one wanted to update oneself on what was happening locally as well as abroad, all one has to do is either to listen to the radio, watch whatever was available on TV, or nip out to the nearest newspaper stand and get a copy of the day’s newspaper.

There was no satellite or cable TV to watch foreign news or entertainment channels, no internet to read online newspaper, and news from friends and relatives were by snail mails. The few lucky ones, rather the exceptions, may be able to tune in a short wave radio for a peek at what was happening on the outside world.

Fast forward to today. Those who have travelled have used the net to read newspapers online, both from our home state, as well as those outside. The net therefore provides us with an easy access to homegrown news when we are away, and though they do not contain all that are available as in the hard copy version, it however allows interested readers to keep themselves updated wherever they are.

Aside from the mainstream news, those who follow news online have also learnt that they can read other sources of news which are considered, for reasons best known to the publishers, published only online, and not in hard copy. These are normally news which do not follow or agree with the views exhibited by the mainstream papers.

One must remember though that it needs a certain amount of maturity to read any kind of offered materials online. It is a free world on the net – anyone can post anything for the world to see. There are however good websites for those who want to improve their knowledge without having to go to the library, or having to purchase publications in the friendly neighbourhood bookstore.

Established sites originated by medical associations, scientific research bodies, academic publications and other substantiated sources of information are worth spending time on. Many educational institutions and research bodies find it more convenient to publish their breakthrough on the net, not only to share their views with those in their own fields, but also to share with the world what they have discovered.

Aside from the alternative news sites found on the net, there were other avenues to share ideas online. Starting with blogging, Facebook, and twitters where individuals can air, and share, their views with the world. Popular amongst the young, and subsequently amongst all ages, it makes better option to be able to share postings with their close groups of friends.

It is quite an accepted fact that the mainstream media, either print or electronic, are usually under the control or patronage of the present government in power. In certain more liberal states though, we can still find a number of them who are owned and openly slanted to other parties or grouping which are not in the same line of thinking of the present party/group in power.

What is the right news, comment, or views published in whatever form is of course a very subjective matter. What is absolutely right to one person, grouping, or party may be the opposite of others, depending on his or their own leanings or outlook. It is therefore a difficult task to say who is right or wrong, philosophically speaking.

The most prudent that one can reach a conclusion in such a matter is that everyone should be the judge of what he believes in. This concept however, has its own weakness. The power of brainwashing and psychological warfare are known to have been able to shift personal convictions or doctrine among not only individuals, but groups, and even nations, if done in the right manner. It just takes the right resources, and time.

With the spread of the use and access to the net, and the refusal of most governments of today to ban or restrict it in view of the need of globalization, except for a number of states, thus brings not only a problem of choice amongst the public, but also the problem of control by governments.

It would be worthwhile for those interested parties to take note of this if they have any plans to influence their readership on the net, for whatever agenda they have in mind.

It has been said that reading widens the mind, and keeps it alive, particularly those who are advancing into their golden years. In this modern world of unlimited access to knowledge, it has come to a situation where there is too much choice for the man on the street. Plus of course the need for a certain amount of maturity to judge the right from the wrong.

To quote a seasoned and wily politician, the question is not so much whether we can trust the variety of news sources available, or those newsmakers that attracted us to read them in the first place.

The question is about whether we can trust our good judgment, our wisdom, our instinct, and our collective strength in determining our own fate.

 

 

The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of SUPP.