Editorial Sept 20th 2019

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

The new age of social media, of Facebook, Twitter and on-line news opens up the opportunity for engagement and immediacy.

In day’s of old a reader of the news that took issue with a published story would put pen to paper, write a Letter to the Editor and send it off in the morning mail in a hope that it might get published. Sometimes it did, most times it didn’t.

Things have changed in the news world. Good, old fashioned paper newspapers were once the only place you could have your say outside of sanding on a soap box in a town square. Now you can have your say on-line and the options available are limitless. Facebook enables you to post your thoughts and responses immediately to anything you read. You can add emoji’s of joy to a photo of a bear cub posted in Canada and then two seconds later post an Angry Face and deliver your tirade around the inefficiencies of politicians or the degradation of the planet.

Facebook and Twitter don’t actually care who YOU are. It is a simple task to create a fictional name and then post away, hiding behind your anonymity to say what ever you wish.

Anonymity, though often used to troll, to bully, to slander, to defame, to incite and annoy can however be used for good as it allows those who do have a story, a perspective, an opinion to do so without being recognised by members of their workplace or community.

With the immediacy of being able to comment also comes the need for someone to filter. Letters to the Editor were once filtered by an editor. They were filtered to ensure their was compliance in publishing laws and they were also often filtered (censored) to reflect the opinion of the editor and any bias the newspaper might have.

With a new found freedom commenters now find themselves able to cast their opinions to the four winds alternating daily between Twitter, Face Book and on-line news that all encourage participation and welcome ‘engagement’. So much so that they measure it as an accomplishment.

The Beagle has a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a comments section on its website for all articles posted. While the Beagle welcomes community engagement it does so complying with the rules of publishing these comments (YES there are rules).

ALL beagle comments are moderated before being published. This ensures that inappropriate comments are filtered out.

The last couple of days has seen a considerable amount of discussion around on-line media including the Beagle saying they will filter out Climate Change deniers and no longer give them a platform for their views. They call it censorship.

I have travelled the world, I have seen places so foul, breathed air so vile, crossed rivers so putrid, seen remote islands trashed with garbage, seen drinking water so contaminated and seen the planet so compromised that I recognise the need for change. And if that comes via recognition of a Climate Emergency that might force humanity to change its ways then I will continue to filter out anyone who says it is a media beat up. They can comment elsewhere. Until next Lei


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