Friday, January 2, 2015

Anonymity on the Internet

An old article from The Independent but worth reading again. To quote Robert Fisk:
Across the world now, anonymity – the bane of every newspaper Letters Editor – is accepted by cyber-journalism, the more hateful, the more understandable. I’ve pulled out of several radio “chat” shows in mid-broadcast because of the absolute refusal of the anchors to explain why they will not challenge the sometimes viciously named Tweeters or email writers. Websites and blogs and chatrooms were never intended to cover the Breivik-like cruelties of these sick people.

Former US diplomat Christopher Hill, a man whose views normally make me cringe – he was ambassador to Iraq, special envoy to Kosovo and a Dayton negotiator – has observed these dangers. “Instant access to information does not mean instant access to knowledge, much less wisdom,” he wrote recently. “In the past, information was integrated with experience. Today, it is integrated with emotion... Digital technology has played an important role “in fostering this atmosphere of bad manners, vicious personal attacks, intolerance, disrespect... Bullying has gone virtual”. (Read more.)

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