April 5, 2020

The Editor speaks: The legal media is gagged but social media can still shout


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Colin Wilson

Five immigration officers and one civilian were found guilty this week in a conspiracy case relating to bribes in connection with the .

Even though the case is over, the legal media operating here, have been gagged by a court order preventing us from naming any of the defendants involved.

The gag order is in place because the Crown may go ahead with another trial regarding the same conspiracy later this year.

However!!! Social media have, so we are informed, been naming names.

On social media there are no gag orders.

I believe it is about time there were. Or gag orders stopped altogether because they serve no purpose.

In December last year a gag order was issued in the US over a tragic incident regarding the botched mission in Gaza where an officer was killed.

“Identifying details of IDF Lt. Col. M., who was killed during a mission in Gaza, quickly spread through social media despite the media blackout; while security officials condemn what they view as a despicable phenomenon, social media experts say it’s a lost battle for those trying to conceal information in this day and age.”

Apparently, the law does not apply to the users of WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

The writer of the story I am quoting from () says “it has become a plague”.

“While IAF fighter jets and helicopters were still flying over Gaza, and sounds of explosions shook the air, many social media users had already been informed about the details of the battle. Similarl to past events, it began with a rumor about a kidnapped soldier, prompting the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit to issue a response to calm the situation, but in the early hours of the morning the rumors about an abducted soldier were replaced by personal details of the fallen Lieutenant Colonel M. The pictures of his family, his children, and his wife spread on social media like wildfire.”

“That’s how it is in our era,” experts say. “You can’t stop it and you can’t act surprised that sensitive information is available to all. We must understand that times have changed and this is the reality, you just have to figure out how to deal with it.”

“There is a problem here, which is expressed through our voyeuristic urges,” says , CEO of Fixel, a company that specializes in the digital field. “It’s a problem that attests to our lack of responsibility as a society. Many times we do not know whether information is true or false, and because of that voyeuristic nature we feel that we are the bearers of the news, we are the innovators. It can be either a cool commercial that’s fun to share or sensitive information about soldiers who died in battle. In recent years, there’s far more information being spread through WhatsApp or Telegram than through Facebook,” he explained.

“On Facebook, psychologically, there’s a feeling of being exposed, whereas WhatsApp feels more intimate because you’re only sharing the information with a few friends. People don’t think about the fact that a simple message they forward is going to make its way to hundreds of chat groups. It happens at a crazy pace,” Shpivak stressed.

“When asked about the difference between voyeurism, celebrity and security incidents, Shpivak says the urges that push us to share sensitive information is a broad phenomenon.

“The psychology is the same. Just like we forward a video of a celebrity in a bathing suit, we pass on information about a soldier who was wounded in battle. Our attitude is the same. The more intimate chat groups are created, the more problematic it becomes. However, the problem is not Facebook but something much broader. It’s a societal problem, and not only in Israel, but worldwide. The mindset of the social media generation is—first share, then think. We need to educate them in order to raise awareness about social responsibility,” he explained.”

: https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5400289,00.html

Another reason for the problem is few people trust officials and alleviate their fears by crying it out over social media. Just look at what people are saying on social media and then we, the supposed legit side allow comments on our stories with little or no censorship.

I am very happy to report every comment placed on our stories are vetted and that is why they don’t appear immediately. We probably receive the least because of that. Even so at the last count the total we have realised is almost 3,000.


The more the information is shared there is no point in hiding it so that in itself makes gag orders nonsensical.

In my early days here, before social media, the ‘gossip’ was called The Marl Road. Now a new local media house that keeps getting into trouble with the RCIPS, has adopted it as their web site title.

Did they receive the gag order?

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  1. Good article. Teachers and educators should looking at this at least once a year in their professional/ conference days. Education starts before the cradle (parents/ family) and continues.


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