OUTLOOK — By Salem Al Jawhary — As Arabs we have peculiar traits that are quite different from those of other races upon the face of the Earth, we talk too much and work little. Other people, on the contrary, accomplish too much in silence and the proof for this is their ever increasing gross domestic product that have made these nations not only self-dependent but also unbelievably prosperous.
Instead of wasting the time in endless talks the people in these countries invest every single minute in productive activities. I was always been impressed by the nature of the Germans who speak only few words in reply as they devote their entire time and energy to work. They have the firm conviction that everyone is responsible for the words they utter and that a word is like a bullet once shot cannot be retrieved, which is why they always try to spare themselves the dire consequences of gossiping.
When talking with others, whether they are lay people or top government officials, we must observe the rules of conversation. Even when we are not seeing eye to eye with our interlocutors we have to abide by the ethics of conversation and respect the values by which we were brought up.
We have to exercise extra caution when saying or writing something that is conveyed to other people because the communications technology has taken its toll our privacy and what was once a secret has ceased to be so, due to the amazing power of the modern means of technology to disseminate information and even private conversations. We have to be careful enough to avoid slipping into faults that benefit only the enemies of the nation who are envious of our successive achievements.
Unfortunately, some people are immature and lack awareness, which is why they easily get entangled in difficulties and bring troubles upon themselves. This can be easily noticed in the way they deal with rumours and falsehoods which spread through the Internet and SMSs. They believe the fabrications they receive and send them to other people after adding their own contribution for more suspense and this is how rumours spread rapidly like bonfire. Some of these rumours tarnish the country’s leadership and their dignity and honesty. Perhaps those who concoct stories and spread them are unaware that defamation is a crime punishable by the law, whether the victim is an ordinary person or a public figure, in which case the crime becomes more heinous as the libel is directed to symbols of the nation.
For all this I believe that there is a need to review and amend the laws pertaining to social communication through all means. Transmitting information to people should be done through the specialised and authorised media. This is a sensitive task which has to be undertaken by someone who is qualified for it.
It is natural to agree with the government on some points and disagree with it in others, however, freedom of expression ends when it is misused or causes damage to the interests of the majority. What should be known to those who spread rumours is that freedom has its limits. They have to bear in mind that differences in opinion should be expressed through the authorised channels and this is the only safe and civilised way by which the dignity and honour of everyone can be protected.
We have to exercise extra caution when saying or writing something that is conveyed to other people because the communications technology has taken its toll on our privacy and what was once a secret has ceased to be so, due to the amazing power of the modern means of technology to disseminate information and even private conversations. We have to be careful enough to avoid slipping into faults that benefit only the enemies of the nation who are envious of our successive achievements