By Zalinah Noordin
WHAT do you do when you realise you’re on the losing end of an argument or debate?
Do you strengthen your arguments with facts or take the easy way out by resorting to personal attacks, insults, labelling, name-calling and slander?
In school we were taught critical thinking and debating in a healthy manner using facts and observations backed by scientific truth.
And sometimes, the truth hurts. Sometimes our observations of others can be distorted as well as we choose to see from just one angle. That must explain why some people become defensive and hit below the belt using personal attacks when they have run out of facts to defend their arguments.
The social media has been created as a platform for us to make life easier. We can keep in touch, seek knowledge, learn something new each day and also to keep abreast of certain developments.
However, it also comes with some disadvantages when misused. Some have used it to manipulate the minds of others and also spread hatred through misleading information. And sadly many have fallen for half-truths they see on social media. Worse, some choose to share irresponsibly without verifying the truth.
Every coin has two sides. Look at both sides and then form your time thoughts and opinions. Then again, no two sides are the same.
So before you make judgements and criticise, stop and think. What I am about to share and say, will it cause more harm than good? Will it add on to the already increasing fallacy and bigotry in this world?
Well that said, it is a good thing Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak recently announced plans to fine-tune laws to deal with the phenomenon of fake news on social media.
If it has come to a stage where it could pose a threat to national security, then laws are the only intervention to or pre-emptive measures to spread such manipulated information that can lead to various problems for our country.
Sometimes when things get too loud, the only way to hear clearly is through silence.
The onslaught of fake news that are very convincing are just causing confusion and unnecessary knee-jerk reactions.
The minister has described fake news as not being just limited to character assassination but is seen by some nations as a security threat.
“Current laws are inadequate to handle the growing problem posed by fake news, which is now a global issue hence the need to look into more efficient laws to tackle the issue of spreading false news and information,” he was recently quoted as saying.
And yes, a quick scroll though social media these days will take us through an information frenzy.
Politician A talking bad about Politician B. Politician B shooting back at Politician A for accusing him or her of things he or she did or did not do and then there are the spin masters and storytellers who turn the scenario into hot topics of discussions.
Some even resort to demeaning methods by involving their personal lives and loved ones. That is just unhealthy. Argue based on facts and findings, not resort to personal attacks and spreading animosity.
And perhaps Gandhi’s words should serve as a reminder to everyone: “An eye for an eye makes the world go blind”.
Stop being hypocrites, favouring or sharing only things or news to your advantage or only when they suit your needs and agenda.