Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Facts or Fictions

How often are opinions reported as fact?
The manipulation of opinion by the twisting of truth is somewhat more insidious problem for democracy than political spin could ever be and I wonder if the full weight of the law shouldn't be brought to bear on every public organisation, the government, politicians and the media, in how they report facts. Of course opinion is welcome. But maybe the public require more than their own intellect to separate the wheat from the chaff?
Perhaps there should be a national authority that would be a first port of call for complaints. This may work like the Advertising Standards Authority with a remit to mediate complaints, giving people and organisations the opportunity to correct or prove their statements, before cumbersome legal proceedings are brought.
I suspect that a demand for legal accountability would not result in a mass of convictions, but would help to wash away shoddy reporting and reinforce the value of news.

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