Monday, 24 September 2012

Information and Misinformation

The 'Information Age' has given us almost immediate access to information and MISinformation - the problem now is that many don't seem to bother to distinguish one from the other.  It's almost an 'if it's online and on the first page of the search results then it must be true' situation.

Back in the day, research required a person to actively and decisively sift through a wealth of information.  Nowadays, it's a few keyboard strokes and barely any attempt at verification :(

We can't forget visual misdirection - when 9/11 happened there was 'footage' of 'celebrations' in the Middle East being broadcast by some news stations; the footage turned out to be stuff they had pulled from their archives, but they didn't tell anyone that and, to this day, more than a decade later, many believe the footage to be 'real'.  The seeds were sowed and millions were demonised within moments.

Similarly with the riots in Pakistan – the media showed the chaos (that’s ‘newsworthy’) but no the peace.  Even the Pakistani media didn’t put forward any of the many peaceful protests, so how were those outside of the country to know there were peaceful gathers occurring, too?

Millions demonised again (and I’m a party to that demonisation because, as much as I searched, I couldn’t find anything (initially) which showed the peaceful protests).

Information and Misinformation.

Now, apparently, Iran wants to put together its own ‘internet’ – as dangerous as the MISinformation that is currently out there, online, is…this could be even more so.  Although countries like China have various firewalls etc set up blocking certain sites and information sources, that information can still be accessed…but what could be the position a couple of generations down the line?  What happens when information is restricted?  What happens when half-truths and lies are being touted as ‘truth’? (Hello ‘Dark Ages’, it’s been a while)

‘Knowledge is power’, we know that, but ignorance and false-knowledge is dangerous (we know this, too, but some people are still uber-keen in promoting it however they can :( )

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