Information is now officially a superpower. A few words can be sold for millions and secrets leaked demand greater punishment than murder and rape. If information has such strength, the common man must be well-informed about everything if he doesn’t want to be a weakling. Knowledge through news keeps you relevant on discussions and active socially because your decisions are finally of some weight. One voice loud enough can rumble and, in a chain reaction, form a hurricane. Governments are now more afraid of angering the masses than they ever were.
While we are all switching over to the internet, other sources of news still survive (radio, television, and paper). Adolph Simon Ochs gave the slogan “All the news that’s fit to print” for the New York Times. He let out a challenge that his news was complete and it was true. While this bold move did attract the attention it was supposed to, it also raised some questions. How true is the news? What stops someone of such power to tell us what he wants? Who is to prove a well-established newspaper wrong about anything? Anybody who causes trouble can be zipped, with the right money and the right contacts. A small voice is easy to hush. So one is to worry, how do you trust anybody about the information? Anything that is on the news can be whatever they want it to be, and anybody who argues can be labelled a conspiracy theorist.
While information that would be very relevant is oft suppressed, completely unnecessary information is spammed onto our faces. We are all blinded by stories and news about things and people that don’t really matter, may that be celebrity pregnancies or incidences, or it could be very irrelevant shows of fortune and power. Nobody cares what Kim Kardashian’s next baby is going to be called, nobody cares how much of a slut Miley Cyrus looks like, nobody cares how much weight Hugh Jackman can deadlift, and nobody gives a single damn about Justin Bieber doing some crappy childish shit. But we are forced to see, to consider, to gain interest. It doesn’t matter at all in our lives, but we read it with more attention than we would ever give our textbooks (god forbid something productive might happen) or any other literature that matters.
The fact that there is something of such strength really makes one realise how small we all really are. The behaviour these days resembles that of sheep, single-minded, gullible, controllable, and cowardly. A slight sign of panic from one side sends a chain reaction throughout the herd, and overnight gossip can become viral, and what is viral, must be true, right? Who are we to question the almighty shepherd and his dog, leading us from the barn to the shears to the slaughterhouse? Yes, there are those who question, but they are aptly bitten hard enough to remember what it feels like to stand out from the herd. Questioning everything is healthy, and it is now necessary. Truth and justice are only matters of who is stronger. Our history tells us that the good guys always wins, but in reality it has always been that the winner is declared the good guy.
Information, in essence, is too vast to verify at every step and stage. But is hope all we have? Hope that the ones who tell us are honest? The idea to be sure is to make sure you are loud and clear when you refute a report. We need to be strong as society. We need to have a system where the public has the right to question. The Right To Information must be aptly utilised to ensure that the system does not become a farmhouse. The idea is to be united under the common good. Morals are not for the weak, because when we go out and realise that instead of the gainers we are the losers in dropping them, they suddenly regain the value they are supposed to. Unity starts from one link.
There have been multiple cases witnessed where the news report does not match the eyewitness report, live feeds are cut off, people are mocked, ideas are shamed. But all we can truly be sure of now is that it’s a dark cold night out there. The sheep huddle and gather together. The shepherd and his dogs sit comfortably by the fireplace. But the farmer does not realise that there are wolves out there. They see past the farmer and his dogs, they see past the sheep and their simple ways. They are free. Yes, there is fear, but the freedom is out there with it, holding its hand.
Photography By: Sandhya Varghese