A reply to “THE CASE OF LEOPOLD II: WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT US?”
In a world where journalism appears to be losing value, we should not put an end to written debate as a constructive and respectful tool of communication.
By: Beata Thor
The notions of post-truth society, alternative facts and political correctness are being circulated and used pejoratively on an everyday basis in politics, media and society today. We see facts and critique being shut down by powerful forces, including the newly appointed US government. In this day and age, opinion should not be considered a bad thing, particularly when it is critical of the norms, dominating structures or unquestioned statements that surrounds us. We need an active debate on issues around us in order to challenge and expand our perception of them. We just need to figure out how to conduct it in a way that is constructive and respectful to everyone involved, whether it is face-to-face or online.
To “talk less” is not the solution from my point of view, but carefully considering what we say and how we say it is important. This is why written debate is crucial. It offers an opportunity to craft an argument with precision and care in a way that is significantly more difficult when put on the spot in a face-to-face interaction. The written argument (in a journalistic context) also allows for input from others, in the form of editing, so that the message the writer is trying to express comes across in the most effective and considerate way.
Not everyone is comfortable with face-to-face confrontation, and it does not necessarily offer either party the opportunity to think through the arguments they are confronted with or to know the best way to respond to them. Directly confronting a group of people as an individual is also not the most effective way to reach others when trying to raise a broader issue that relates to all of us collectively.
I agree that we need to be open and empathetic towards each other, but I do not see any reason why there is not enough space for direct discussions and written opinion to coexist when they have complementary purposes.
An opinion piece is not a monologue; it is an invitation for dialogue.
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