Medium published my new article “Is Freedom of Expression for Sale?”
Space seems to be too small for Elon Musk, the richest man in the world. After making private space travel a reality his next goal is to conquer the information planet. The business magnate has offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion because he believes in its potential as a global platform for “freedom of expression.” Will it truly make the world freer, more open?
The battle for Twitter’s management has probably just begun. Musk’s proposal and statement have rattled the nerves of the members of the company’s board of directors, who are already taking steps to prevent the billionaire from taking over the popular network.
If at one time social media, and the media outlets in general, tried to keep up appearances as platforms for pluralism and freedom of expression, it is now clear that free speech is for sale, and that whoever controls the shares, controls the information.
People read a newspaper, scroll through the networks, listen to all kinds of narratives, and then believe that they select their world view. This is ludicrous, because free speech and free press do not exist in reality and never have. The narrative has always been determined by the one who pays, who orders the “news,” sets the agenda, and wants to influence public opinion. That’s how it has been and that’s how it will be.
In fact, it is to the credit of Musk and other rich people fighting for control today that we understand there is no freedom of speech. We understand with greater clarity who is pulling the strings and making the decisions behind the scenes. Whereas in the past, the control centers used to be anonymous, now everything is transparent, and we clearly know which newspaper and which network belongs to whom.
The next step to be expected is that all the wealthy will join together and have full control in one hand. Even if tomorrow President Biden dominates the media, or former President Trump, who is currently banned from Twitter, were to return to accelerated activity on social media, or a thousand other leaders were to take their place, it would change nothing. There are vested interests above them with capital flowing out of their hands, and they are the controlling shareholders. Therefore, there is no realistic hope for freedom of expression.
Even if there were hope for free speech, what free truth could the media tell us? That there are wars here and there? And what could anyone do about it? Could they give advice on how to get out of the trouble? Could they tell the world about its good future?
In the meantime, no leader, newspaper, or network can possibly succeed in bringing the world closer to peace and reconciliation. On the contrary, everyone is only looking for their own personal interests. Therefore, we cannot yet bring ourselves to admit the simple truth: that a good future can only be found when there are cordial bonds between people. The wars that intensify now with the rising of egoism or self-interest have no future to offer; in fact, all they can promise is our destruction.
To step out of the cycle of wars and endless fighting, Twitter and other similar media need to disseminate the viability of peace and mutual reconciliation between all. They could play an important role in positively shaping public opinion and the perception of reality of society through examples from the past and present about the benefits of upgrading human relations. So far, this goal looks as distant as space.