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“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.” - Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

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Very recently Obama set up a fake news agency to regulate and control the publication and dissemination of fake news. His actions have been prompted in response to the disastrous Democratic election campaign and the fact that increasing numbers of people are now turning to alternative media outlets to get their news.

With the emergence of this regulatory agency, you might be forgiven for believing ‘fake news’ is a recent  phenomenon perpetrated by news reporting which is outside the mainstream media. And yet, some of the biggest disseminators of fake news in recent times have actually been the mainstream media themselves, with often biased, disingenuous, and in some instances, blatantly untrue statements being published with little regard to their accuracy or credibility of its source. The rise in people turning to alternative media outlets is a clear indication that they really do not place much faith in the mainstream narratives constantly being fed to them.  In many ways they have a right to be sceptical. Many feel they have been led to turn a blind eye or endorse government actions backed up by political assertions which have subsequently proved to be to misleading or totally incorrect.

In addition to the Obama administration’s new agency, which determines what is true or fake news, we have MPs in Britain calling for a ban on a media news organisation - namely RT. It really has to be questioned what values these MPs hold dear. Surely the functioning of any free and democratic society is to allow people to choose what they believe for themselves from the widest range of information and sources. It is clear the political establishments together with their corporate benefactors are very much on the back foot. The rise of populism in Europe and election of Donald Trump in the US has really sent shockwaves throughout the political establishment. The emergence of an agency to decide for people what is real or fake news is simply a means of censoring alternative media news outlets. It is clear from the agency’s initial overtures that the rules and penalties of disseminating fake news will be applied in a  partisan manner favouring the mainstream media and the agendas they promote. In terms of people’s freedom to choose things for themselves, this has profoundly worrying implications.

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