Of The Future George Orwell Wrote About

I read George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 years ago, back when the words freedom and free speech, to me simply meant freedom to choose who would accompany me to school at the beginning of the school term and freedom of expression meant in an literature exam, the only wrong answer was to leave blank where an answer should have been, some answers scored more points than others but all of them were correct.

I find it, lets call it interesting to note how books published almost 7 decades ago seem to be about the totalitarian states of today and the need to control the narratives

“Do not believe anything,you see or hear, especially on the internet, believe only what we tell you”

In the wake of violent protest, an internet shutdown and a military blitz, which the state blamed on “rouge elements” who wore stolen military Sky News reporter John Sparks did a report which showed security forces beating a handcuffed man

The President’s official Twitter account issued the following response:

And a bit later in the state newspaper, the Secretary For Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was reported saying how the country is under coordinated media attack and that the Sky News team were not accredited to be reporting on events in Zimbabwe and had not given the police or army a chance to respond

Zim under coordinted media attack

Later still, during a press conference the police spokeswoman had a chance to respond on the Sky News report, that their investigations showed the footage was from an incident in July 2016 and further investigations were underway….

The Sky News team stood by their story

Clearly someone was definitely telling “altenative facts” state media, government officials, the police or an unaccredited news team?

Further scrutiny of the video by “analysts” showed two distinct telltale signs

  • The registration particulars of vehicle which passes in camera range shows it to have a registration number sequence which could not have been reached in 2016 since the central vehicle registry follows a sequential system
  • A plain clothed officer wearing the Chelsea FC Third Kit for the season 2017/2018
Chelsea Third kit 2017-18

Without actually acknowledging making an about turn the police released a new statement which cited a police officer was arrested for misconduct

This story is simply a tip of the iceberg, but it does leave one questioning everything; can we believe anything, if there’s no truth where do transparency and accountability even begin……

The internet and social media might be a hot bed of fake news, cyber bullying and all manner of misinformation and anti social behaviour, but with it the future from the book 1984 might not necessarily have to be an instruction manual….

Newspeak

Of Coffee, the internet and the truth

mango juice

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you its still mango season, and we blending them into juice. I’ll even tell you a lil twist, throw in a banana into the mixture and surprise your taste buds.

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask your opinion on the internet if it had done more harm than good, to the fabric of the world; if world governments could or should ban or restrict access to some of it?

I watched a BBC report about how social media use is linked to an increase in depression and teen suicide. The UK government is considering taking legislative measures against social media companies if they do not purge harmful content from their sides.

Ban social media

The crazy weird thing is sometimes the harder you try to purge something the more you sensationalize it. There was this game, targeting vulnerable teens, that trended in some circles early last year, challenging them to do tasks which would ultimately lead to suicides; I dont know if anyone else noticed that the more people actually gave out details warning people to not play the game, the more people actually sought out the challenge….

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you, thats the thing with social media and the internet, news spreads like veld fire. Are more people commiting suicide or more people hearing about it cause of social media or maybe both. Simply banning the social media will not fix anything whats broken inside some people….

suicide

Coming back to home, our government ordered an internet shutdown, as it was blamed for the violent protest and later the internet was restored but partially with restrictions to social media sites. A constitutional court ruling later ordered full internet services be restored on the technicality that only the president would have had the authority to issue such a directive and not a minister and that was that, but still leaves loop holes in the constitutionality of ordering internet shutdowns, this wont be last the time it happens…..

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that its open season at the fake news factory; its really difficult to know whats happening especially when even the official information channels contradictory and entirely whole accounts of whats happening.

A hoax message went viral about how people using VPNs to access the internet were being investigated by the police, till the police had to issue out a statement that they were doing no such thing.

If you having coffee with me I would tell you I wrote a post with ten simple ways you can use to check if something is fake news, Stop Reflect Verify so you can share responsibly

While the internet was down the were untold cases of atrocious violations to men, women and children, by people dressed as security agents which never made the news. The government attributed some of these acts to “rouge elements

Sky News broke the story of security forces in Zimbabwe beating a man

The president’s official twitter account shared an excellent and decisive response to this news story but what has me worried is that, the are so many other things that havent been responded to, the state broadcaster carries on as its business as usual.

Do we have to wait until news makes international headlines for it to be true? When you have so many people desperate for news any news about whats going thats a perfect breeding ground for fake news…..

According to The Herald, a local newspaper Zim is under a co-ordinated media attack and that SkyNews is not accredited to operate in Zimbabwe and their report is unbalanced…

Zim under co-ordinated attack

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that for now its calm, but its that uneasy calm and everytime I see a group of police officers or soldiers, I feel a slight panic coming on, like maybe I am somewhere I should not be or doing something I should not be doing, or perhaps I wrote something I shouldnt have (hang on a second while I reread this post)

Well thanks for dropping by, I hope you have an awesome week, whats your truth?

~B

PS We lost a legendary musician and icon Oliver Mtukudzi and the other post I have been writing is in honour of Samanyanga

Oliver mtukudzi a life well lived a life worth celebrating