There are some people who think that freedom means the right to say and do whatever you like. In fact, they confuse ‘freedom’ with ‘licence’.
When you live in society, freedom is always ‘qualified’ and not ‘absolute’ because your freedom stops where mine begins.
But freedom is not a static concept. From feudalism to the present time, the world has known great changes in terms of freedom and fundamental rights. The struggle for new freedoms is a continuous process. As we move forward, new responsibilities become necessary. However, there are still the few hotheads who prefer to ignore that freedom and rights are meaningless without clear thinking, responsibilities and duties.


The exercise of freedom has to take place within a legal framework which will undergo changes as society progresses.
The action of a serious political party is based on a clear ideology, programme and objective. The Mauritius Labour Party (MLP) was inspired by Fabian Socialism; the PMSD started as a pro-capitalist, pro-apartheid and anti-Hindu party and much later was forced to sober down and adopt a less ultra-right policy; the MMM started as a modern socialist party and the MSM opted for pragmatism which inevitably drove it into the grip of neoliberalism (rightwing capitalism).
As a result of MSM’s electoral success, its opponents, be it MLP or MMM, were swallowed by ravenous neoliberalism and today all main parties dance to the same neoliberal tune. This is why (a) MLP and MMM members and followers can easily change allegiance and join the politically cunning MSM and (b) politicking has replaced political debates. Consequently, mudslinging, rumours, lies and slander ‘have sovereign sway and masterdom’. The ground is now ripe for demagogues, rascals and adventurists to fool people who love rumours and gossips. Should they not enjoy the freedom to cast aspersions and use technology to spread lies, half-truths and unverified information?


Social media which have a great potential to inform, educate and entertain may be misused by half-baked intellectuals (and I am polite) and unscrupulous people who have no regards for basic moral principles as long as they can satisfy their selfish motives, aims and objectives. These media give us a lot of freedom but also opens the door to rumours, lies, unverified information, narcissism, propaganda and libel. Social media are used as an extension tool for the good old gossiping culture. Every moron sees himself as a competent journalist who should enjoy unrestricted freedom.

Computer scientists and philosophers are worried by the way some people use digital technology. Is any form of control possible? Will licence finally take full control over our lives? Time will tell.



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