Dangerous Disinformation

Monday, August 30, 2010

Unrestricted expression of our points of view is a human right (Art. 19, Universal Declaration). Article 1 of the Constitution of UNESCO, whose mission is build peace “in the minds of men”, provides for the “free flow of ideas by word and image”.

But this right is also the right to accurate, unbiased information that doesn’t invariably and without exception reflect the ideology, political party, etc. of those disseminating the news.

The concentration of audiovisual and print media in the same hands is so pervasive that it not only wields global influence to justify actions that are hardly justifiable to the majority of audiences, but also, through the most appropriate “group” media, they trigger speculative movements -"dollar zone" vs. "euro zone", for example- or create “enemies” to preclude a slow-down of the immense war machine.

Right here in Spain, with few exceptions citizens who read only one newspaper risk having a totally erroneous idea of what transpires. Consequently, their opinions concerning the government, justice system, political parties... are marked by the same bias, the same prejudices reflected in the newspaper. The same can be said of private television channels which are progressively falling into the hands of the same owners...

Thus, even with the best of intentions, many people are only aware of the “truth” presented by those whose sole obsession lies in the next elections.

The solution? Read newspapers that express obviously contrary opinions, watch television channels and listen, at least once in a while, to radio stations other than your “favorites”... And impartially and calmly discuss controversial topics with friends from other “walks of life”... And likewise observe what is happening beyond our borders, outside of Spain. And take time to think, to reflect on different matters.

I have often insisted that there is much risk in remaining mere spectators, passive recipients, irresolute and resigned to our fates. The future generations deserve better. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be convinced and manipulated.

Disinformation is very dangerous.