Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Hyde-ing in Cyberspace

There seems to have been an outcry among netizens against MDA's new regulations on the discourse in the Internet.

Much of the opposition against these regulations cite the right to free speech as a human right. But one's human rights cannot come with the right to harm others, even the American constitution recognizes this fundamental caveat to all forms of freedom. Why should free speech be any different?

Some protested that they are not children, and can do without this nannying. But dear friends, many are indeed either immature or nasty enough to engage in extremely unpleasant behaviour in the cyberspace. Just look at the vitriolic, hate-mongering comments in Yahoo, STOMP, or other political forums. Don't you ever wonder who on earth made them? If we meet these netizens in real life, are they just as uncouth, or maybe we would be surprised by how normal they appear on the outside. It is as if people behave like Dr Jekyll in face-to-face interaction, and then morph into Mr Hyde in the darkness of cyberspace, hiding behind anonymity.

It is obvious that the much vaunted free speech has turned into a free-for-all melee. Of course, one is free to give as good as he gets i.e. if you are flamed, trolled or slandered, you could jolly well retaliate in whatever way you like. But personally, I would prefer not to be attacked in the first place. I guess, since we live in a community, where one man's right is another's slander, it is best for there to exist some form of refereeing.

I, for one, have no objection to the new MDA guidelines.

No comments: