Letters

Letters To The Editor 20th November, 2018

Biman fit for Opposition Dharmendra Kumar, Suva I like what Jyoti Pratibha said in her article – ‘NFP’s manifesto had promised the earth and moon to the Fijian electorate’ but
20 Nov 2018 10:38
Letters To The Editor 20th November, 2018

Biman fit for Opposition

Dharmendra Kumar,

Suva

I like what Jyoti Pratibha said in her article – ‘NFP’s manifesto had promised the earth and moon to the Fijian electorate’ but despite the promises he (National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad) failed miserably.

A dream to form government and ganging up with SODELPA for the sole purpose of removing the FijiFirst leader Voreqe Bainimarama has been rejected by the vast majority of voters.

Mr Prasad in my view is tailor-made for Opposition. If he wants to win more than three seats then he needs to be vocal against SODELPA’s racist and bigotry comments in Parliament.

It’s time he stop ducking under the table and man up.

Mr Prasad, thinking will not overcome fear, but opening your mouth in Parliament would.

Mr Prasad and NFP need to get back credibility in Parliament.

It’s probably time for you and your general secretary to resign after two failed elections.

 

Congratulations FijiFirst

Heenali Bhagwan,

Nadi

Once again the people of Fiji have made their firm decision regardig their future.

The people of Fiji have proved that they want to move forward and keep moving towards a better Fiji and a better future for the generations to come.

I would like to congratulate the FijiFirst Party in winning the elections and acquiring majority seats in Parliament to form Government.

We would want to see our Government performing at its best once again to uplift our beloved nation to greater heights and give the citizens of Fiji a better and brighter future.

We would also want the Government to have closer ties with the global village. We wish the Government all the best with the hope that they further boost the confidence of the people of Fiji in the next four years.

 

Congratulations

Wise Muavono,

Lautoka

I went into hibernation mode and waited until after the election results had been finalised, then I would write again.

Congratulations to the FijiFirst party for securing the majority number of votes and will be forming the next Government, your Government, my Government.

Can someone please inform that whinger Dan Urai that he can continue with his one liners?

 

Responding to ‘fake news’

Arvind Mani,

Nadi

Last week, the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, responded to a blatant and egregious lie posted by some moron who seems to have nothing better to do with his pathetic life.

He reminds me of a dog who chases your car barking wildly.  And other dogs follow him (somewhat akin to “likes” on Facebook).  When you have driven off, the dogs go back to their pathetic existence till another car drives by.

Should you pay attention to these creatures? Unfortunately, accusations that have no basis in reality can be surprisingly damaging. We are entering a new era where social media platforms allow erroneous claims and ‘fake news’ reports to propagate with unprecedented speed.

Not long after Donald Trump became US President, his counsellor, Kellyanne Conway, introduced the phrase “alternative facts” when defending inflated claims about attendance numbers at his inauguration by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

President Trump’s recent assertion that Sweden was having “problems like they never thought possible” because “they took in large numbers” of refugees went viral and was largely disputed.

But what makes the spread of this information particularly dangerous is that, according to research, misinformation takes hold more rapidly and more easily in populations that perceive themselves to be in an insecure position.

Given that fake news instigators thrive on stoking their followers’ confirmatory bias, the tendency to favour information that confirms existing beliefs, they present serious challenges to the reputations of those they attack.

Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard, suggests corrections or counter-information to false rumours, lies, or “alternative facts” are very difficult, and should be a matter of public concern. In many cases, therefore attenuating them may be the only hope.

Many of us are being misled. Claiming to know dark secrets about public officials, hidden causes of the current economic situation, and nefarious plans and plots, those who spread rumours know precisely what they are doing.

And in the era of social media and the Internet, they know how to manipulate the mechanics of false rumours—social cascades, group polarisation, and biased assimilation. They also know that the presumed correctives—publishing balanced information, issuing corrections, and trusting the marketplace of ideas—do not always work. All of us are vulnerable.

These alternative facts can also be durable where misinformation continues to influence judgments even if that information has already been corrected by the accused.

This is one reason why conventional communications tactics of responding to fake news or false claims with condemnation and retort have so far proven inadequate in the post-truth era. Responding with outrage has also fallen short.

These lies require a new kind of response. In many cases, however, responding can only go so far so there are limits to the effectiveness of these counter strategies. Your counter information may never make it past the biases of the hardened followers of the accuser, no matter how clear the message.

We should condemn and turn the argument on the accuser. While condemnation may be necessary, be careful not to repeat the instigator’s claims lest your outrage become fodder for their followers’ entertainment.

Turn the argument around by making strong points or asking pointed questions to demonstrate that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

President Trump’s recent claims that something happened ‘last night in Sweden’ elicited a very calm yet pointed response.

The Swedish embassy in the US tweeted in response, “we look forward to informing the US administration about Swedish immigration and integration policies.”

Even to those not following developments, it served as a stand-alone statement that might simply be construed as an act of friendly information sharing, staying well clear of the original claims. Even President Trump, the accuser, was forced to admit the source of his claim – a widely debunked Fox News report.

This also builds on the strategy of taking the moral high ground. If you engage in the same sort of pettiness, you’ll end up with the dirt on you too.

It may be tempting when responding to fighting fire with fire, but in the increasingly divisive nature of fake news, this often reinforces the accuser’s narrative, confirming stereotypes or negative beliefs.

Refusing to play the “enemy” role makes it more difficult for the instigator to pin you down and demonise you to stoke more support for their ideas.

Or consider not responding at all. There is also such a thing as engaging too much. If a dog is running after your car and barking and if you yell at it, it will bark even more.  So let it bark till its mouth starts to hurt.  It is too stupid to stop sooner – much like the conspiracy theorists on social media.

Depending on the ludicrousness of the claim, it could be better to wait it out. McDonald’s learned this lesson when a series of fake stories spread online that it was using worms as filler in its burgers. Eventually it stopped responding and let the story run out of steam.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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