Amiri reassurance statements … and ‘social media’ abuses

This news has been read 1961 times!

Ahmad Al-Jarallah

IN his book “La Psychologie Sociale” (Social Psychology), the French sociologist and psychologist Jean Maisonneuve wrote, “A rumor is a form of social pressure of unknown origin that is generally shrouded in mystery and vagueness, and usually attracts the attention of broad sectors of society.”

Rumor used to be one of the weapons used to destabilize countries. Some rumors were even used to ignite wars, and there is much evidence of this, although time does not allow us to state them at the moment.

On the other hand, transparency is the weapon used to refute all the rumors and fight against the rumormongers and their goals. However, it needs a way to create the appropriate atmosphere for it to be effective.

Therefore, in countries where administrations understand the meaning of stability, their officials work to avoid any delay in refuting rumors so that the public is not misled, especially in a time when the influence of social media has become great, and sometimes even shapes public opinion.

It is true that freedom in Kuwait is great, but the delay in announcing an event opens the way for the spread of rumors, which undoubtedly create confusion among the public, and provide an opportunity for external parties with their own interests to create more confusion on the internal situation. Therefore, promoting transparency is the only way to maintain stability.

The Amiri Diwan did well by issuing daily statements about the health condition of His Highness the Amir, after reports that he is not feeling well had emerged.

Nonetheless, while all of Kuwait is praying that Almighty Allah will grant His Highness good health and wellness, the delay in issuing the first statement and limiting it to a brief daily statement gave way to rumors flooding the social media.

In fact, it did not just stop at the health status of His Highness, but rather reached the arrangements in the hierarchy of power, and the distribution of positions to some individuals, in addition to linking what is happening in the region and the political atmosphere based on rumors in the country.

In Kuwait, we went through such events in the past. Prior to social media, news was limited to the press, print, audio and visual back then, and so things were fine despite the many observations in this regard at that time.

However, today the situation has changed to such a degree that it is not possible to be satisfied with daily brief press statements, because social media wants more fuel for the fire.

Unfortunately, this is what eludes the concerned officials. During the time when the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad was ill, the spread of rumors about it at that time should have served as a lesson for us to change the way we handle such events.

The health of senior officials is important, because it affects the political situation both locally and regionally, as well as the economy, stock market indicators, and other aspects of life.

Therefore, when an official statement is delayed, as it is supposed to be issued more than once a day, this directly affects everyone, because each has its own calculations in light of developments, especially in a region witnessing sensitive situations, and each of its countries has its own calculations.

Also, all the forces and groups lurking in Kuwait have a vision of what they can achieve through the political poisoning of the situation in order to destroy faith in the homeland and weaken social cohesion, which then leads to inciting tribal and sectarian strife.

If all these calculations are not in the minds of the state officials, they are indirectly contributing to sprinkling more salt on the wound of national unity, which leads to further weakness.

However, when frankness is the basis, and the local public opinion, which is the incubator of the political system especially in a country like Kuwait, is exposed, all of this leads to the demolition of the structure of lies on the heads of those who built it.

Finally, it must be emphasized that the threat of referring to the Public Prosecution those who spread lies is a form of fiction, as all of these people are either publishing from outside Kuwait, or under fake names. Therefore it is not possible to refer all of them to the Public Prosecution, but the correct path is through transparency, moment by moment.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 1961 times!

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