Home Web Specials Voices of suffering citizens equally important

Voices of suffering citizens equally important

Photograph: Canva

Join us on Telegram and Instagram for the latest.

The mission to oppose global hegemony should not blind us from the simple truths that come from the most vulnerable, says Ronald Benjamin.

I felt quite puzzled after reading an article by prominent political scientist Chandra Muzaffar in which its core content was about fake information that has hegemonic designs to discredit China over the coronavirus outbreak.

I have no issue with the way the Chinese authorities have addressed the virus problem which drew praises from the World Health Organization. Chandra rightly said there are hegemonic designs to discredit China using the coronavirus as a weapon. These contentions have elements of truth when one takes a view of global politics especially the rivalry between the United States and China.

What puzzles me is he made a binary presentation of his understanding of fake news related to the coronavirus by classifying those responsible for such news into two categories.

The first, he says, are “mischief-makers who derive some cheap thrill from generating and disseminating fake news that creates fear and causes panic among the people”.

The second are people with political agendas looking to tarnish China “and project the Chinese government as incompetent and even dishonest”.

Both groups have accused the government of providing inaccurate death tolls and were slow to respond to the crisis, he says.

“Attempts to reveal the ‘truth’ about what was really happening in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, by some doctors and journalists have been suppressed and the ‘whistleblowers’ punished,” Chandra wrote.

The fact is when fake news is categorised into these two groups, there is something that is missed out – information from the common citizens of China who are going through the misery themselves. Can this be sweepingly dismissed as fake news to discredit China? The whistleblowers play a part in disseminating information even though they may be used by the so-called hegemonic-related media.

China has suppressive policies regarding human rights, and it detains people if it feels that particular information does not fit into its worldview and narrative of a given situation. This is the reason common citizen activists, intellectuals and religious followers who dare question or act against the narrative of the regime are prosecuted and jailed. This is seldom mentioned in Chandra’s analysis of China.

If one looks at a larger perspective, in the constant taking of sides of big powers, whether one is against the US or China in the hegemonic argument, the voices and suppression of common citizens go unnoticed, and this is detrimental to human rights and dignity in a broader context.

Human dignity should be seen from a broader perspective that opposes the twin evils of global hegemony and national authoritarian repression. The voices of suffering citizens are equally important in the analysis of news like the spread of coronavirus. This is also true for citizens who oppose the oppressive laws of an autocratic government.

Hopefully, our mission to oppose global hegemony should not blind us from the simple truths that comes out from the most vulnerable.

Source: themalaysianinsight.com

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x