Legendary Column By: Sheku Putka Kamara Libertarianism vs. Social Responsibility

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These days, hardly would you peruse social media contents without coming in contact with stuffs that have the affinity of disrupting public safety and public sanity. In most of these cases, some of the susceptible recipients of such information are programmed to accept the messages from magic bullet or hypodermic theoretical lenses. A whole lot of things may be responsible for such happenings. From observation, national and sectional political attachments that are most times prejudicially structured have had the best of people. It appears to be more of a battle of us vs. them. This is unwelcoming, surely! It is high time we stood up and condemn and yes, try to curb these irrationalities in our society. 

In animal farm, law and order are secondary issues and that is if there’s any hope for them to be considered at all. It appears that this is what people have turned and considered social media to be? That does not sound cool to me, not least because, those who may be trumpeting for a ‘free social media press’ today could be the ones that are demanding regulation tomorrow. It is on such basis that we have to realize that what is wrong today would still be wrong tomorrow and surely, two wrongs do not make a right.

The open market place philosophy as propounded by numerous scholars like John Milton hypothesized that let everyman who has something to say, say it. It furthers that for at the end of the day, what remains to be true shall ultimately survive. This is a theory of gross radicalism because it gives everyone the urge and will to set an agenda no matter the contents and contexts. Professor James Tamba Lebbie of Fourah Bay College knows this best! Sadly, and if you like ideally, Sierra Leone is not ‘an open market place society where people could and would just do things no matter what and how.’

Our laws require that we adopt a social responsibility approach. That is to say, one has a right to say what he or she feels like, but then, one has to be held responsible and accountable for his or her actions and statements. This is why absolute press freedom is likely not achievable in any functional democracy. In all of these developments, we should always be mindful that the media is very powerful and that through its conflict perspective, it may as well have the ability to unmake society. We need not restate that a society that lacks law and order is one that has the likelihood to host havoc and unruliness. It is on that note that we all must denounce the wrongful use of social media.

The battle to control Sierra Leone’s political space is not an easy one. It is therefore not surprising that even agendas that are not fit for purpose are surfacing and resurfacing.  Recently, there appears to have been a national urge to deprecate hate speech and similar contents. This is not far from been great. We must be bold enough to state that there must not and should not be any room for malicious and fallacious contents. Politics aside, let us be mindful and be reminded that falsity does not shine where truth is all that matters.

Sierra Leone does not have it all, but we need it most. Some of us keep stressing that there is need to accelerate more developmental agendas for this country and its people. Livelihood has to be pleasing for all and not just some. It is only when we begin to embrace those universal affirmative approaches and negate the particular confirmatory norms that we may have likely begun to make headway. The gullibility of some of our fellow countrymen is always a concern to some of us. For such people, media literacy could as well be dead because whatever they see or read on social media is a fact. That is how others have been programmed. So, the misinformation that is making the social media agendas has the ability to make people take and make uninformed decisions.

Just if people understand that politics is not everything. Life still goes on after and without politics. It is not a crime to belong to part A or B, but let us not allow the love of and for politics to overshadow deductive reasoning and the love for and of country. The latter must and is expected to be paramount. Sierra Leone is the only place that a good number of us call home. We must be mindful of such a situation and ensure to give in our best to make this nation a much better place.

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