Are we to understand that only certain opinions matter?

Are we to understand that only certain opinions matter?

Friday, January 15, 2021

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Dear Editor,

It seems that we are fast entering a time when all views are no longer being allowed to contend in the public square. A kind of creeping, soft totalitarianism, in which the media (formerly the bastion of free speech) has become complicit, is raising its ugly head and threatening our free speech.

Witness what we have seen with our neighbours to the north. Big Tech is flexing its muscles by removing companies from their platforms and taking down posts of individuals if the opinions expressed are deemed not to be in agreement with their particular political views.

Are we now to understand that only certain opinions matter? That only those who have might are right? We might as well stop communicating with each other if all we want is an echo chamber.

How can we say we live in a democratic society when we only allow one set of views to be heard?

The idea now seems to be that if someone disagrees with you politically or otherwise you intimidate them into silence by maligning them, shouting them down, or 'cancelling' their voice altogether. Reasoned argument and debate seem to have been thrown completely out of the window. Conversely, those who believe their views enjoy popular (not necessarily majority) support are becoming more belligerent, arrogant, and openly offensive.

A case in point with our own Jamaica media took place during an interview on Nationwide News Network on Tuesday, January 12,2021. The topic of abortion was being debated by Philippa Davies (pro-life) and Nadine Spence (pro-choice). The moderator, who had clearly expressed his view in support of the pro-choice position at the beginning of the programme, seemingly cut off Davies, mid-sentence, from the programme. She had neither been rude nor impolite in her speech, but seemed to merely want an opportunity to clear up a misunderstanding regarding misuse of important terms relevant to her position. Shame! I had thought that Nationwide was one of the stations worth listening to because of its balanced coverage of national issues, so this intolerance surprises me.

People with alternative views need to find their voice and power so that the media (social and otherwise) may know that they are not just there to promulgate their own views but to be a voice for all the people.

We demand that, as the voice of the people, that there is a semblance of balance.

Anita Wise

Kingston 8

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