A person’s economic power does not only depend on the amount of his property and assets, but also on how much prestige and influence a person has in society is also a part of economic power. This part of economic power is called social capital.
Just as an individual has social capital in addition to economic capital, so does a society have social capital. Iran is a rich country in terms of economic capital, but it is a weak country in terms of social capital!
We have a country that is one of the largest reserves of oil and natural gas in the world, a country that has significant potential for tourism in terms of climate and history, and geographically is a bridge between Central Asia and open waters and a bridge between the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
If you look at the global development rankings, you wonder why a country with these potentials should be at the top one-third of the table, at the bottom one-third; The answer must be seen in the low “social capital” of this country.
The most important element in social capital is “public trust”. When social space is full of trust, job creation and wealth rise. When do people in a society trust each other? When they believe in the truth of the news they receive from each other.
Therefore, when we assume in our interpersonal relationships that the news we hear from each other is false, we can say that our social capital has been lost. Censorship and gossip are two processes that burn our social capital. In the process of censorship, we deny and conceal part of the truth, and in the process of gossip, we replace what is not true with reality.
When the public media in a society is censored, people’s trust in the news decreases. Less than a dozen percent of media articles or programs may be censored, but since we do not know which section of a book, newspaper, or news item has been cut by the razor blade, we are skeptical of all of it. This is how the media that are the channel of information of the society become disgraced!
Informal media is used when people’s trust in the official media is lost: Rumour! People who are deprived of official news are now producing and distributing unofficial and often unsubstantiated news, and by “forwarding” what they get, they are spreading distrust in society.
This is how we are immersed in a sea of news and information that we can not trust a drop of it! In such an atmosphere of doubt and mistrust, how can “civil partnership” be formed ?! We are becoming isolated islands and everyone is thinking about their own short-term personal interests.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about censorship in a note entitled “A fan that only cools itself.” Last year, in a note entitled “Do not forward”, I addressed the phenomenon of rumours. The cultural phenomena of censorship and rumours are not only morally reprehensible, but also serious obstacles to the economic development of society.
The Internet and social media give us the opportunity to be “citizen-reporters” rather than victims of censorship and passive spectators of the distorted official media.
The citizen-reporter is an active observer who is the producer of the news: he takes photos, reports, interviews, comments, and “signs” every piece of news he produces, accepting the citizen’s legal responsibility to be active. This is so that we do not sit idly by to be fed censored news, nor do we actively interfere in spreading rumours and false news, but take on the role of an honest and healthy media.
Dr. Mohammad Reza Sargolzaei – Psychiatrist
Translated By: Negar Kolkar
- Photo From: balancedachievement.com
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