Info Blast & Anarchy

We are now living in the age of the information superhighway where the dissemination of news and information has not only gathered speed but the sheer magnitude of available resources at our disposal is truly mind-blowing. The key to successfully harnessing this information superhighway will lie in how we manage as well as filter the available resources. We should however be mindful of the potential dangers of unregulated news and information. Those who are going to manage information’s of the future will have to learn how to ensure their free flow while at the same time guaranteeing the peaceful order of our society and nations. In recent years we have seen some path breaking development in the area of information and its technology. We need to welcome all such changes which will ultimately improve the life of people and also strengthening the democratic process including the move towards an open and transparent government. However we should not encourage the use of the so called info revolution as ‘license’ to wage war, kill people or create lawlessness all in the name of the new information order. This will be a dangerous path which we should not tread upon. All of us are taught in life about the ‘limit of power’ and how our freedom entails equal responsibility and the sacred duty of each and every one of us to work for peaceful coexistence. As media practitioners or information managers, we cannot allow our freedom to publish or speak become the cause for disorder or war. Any change to take place should be in a non-violent, peaceful and democratic manner.
No doubt the recent wikileak phenomenon has led to digging out the truth about our human failing especially the brutality of war and abuse of power at the hands of our rulers. The justification to expose the truth should however be guided by the equally relevant argument to ensure that the very war and its brutality that we want to expose never ever happens. If by exposing the truth we risk more lives and more brutality and bloodshed, we should be responsible and equally duty bound to exercise restraint. Of particular concern has been the manner in which one of the Arab based satellite channel has started releasing thousands of documents known as the ‘Palestine Papers’. For instance the Palestinians who are negotiating for a peaceful settlement have gone on to accuse Al-Jazeera television “of participating in a campaign aimed at overthrowing the Palestinian Authority”. The files expose some of the concessions offered to Israel during 10 years of secret peace talks. While naturally this may have embarrassed and angered the Palestinian leadership, the media should have acted with more responsibility so that the cause of peace is in no way hindered. The media has no right to provoke or create situation that may lead to war, hatred or misunderstanding. Even in the Naga context where the peace or reconciliation processes remain fluid and sensitive, we have never looked at these vital processes as something to sensationalize and sell our news. We have taken the conscious decision to refrain from unnecessarily reporting on these processes because sometimes the intrusion of the media may be counterproductive. We need to protect the interest of peace and not sabotage it in anyway. Information managers and journalists of the future will have to learn to disseminate information not as a license but as a right and duty. We should not allow the information superhighway lead us to a world of anarchy and war.