In an age of intense political divisions, many people seem eager to find any way to get their point across. From the use of protests and marches to the demonisation of opponents on social media, it is clear that people are willing to go to extreme lengths to make their voices heard. This has unleashed a new Dark Ages upon us where narcissistic legions of bored curtain twitchers and rabid attention-seeking gossips armed with digital pitchforks and torches are using the power of the Internet, Social Media and public opinion to form Trial by the Internet.
It doesn’t take much for unfounded allegations to be spread online and then taken as truth by the general public. Such cases have become an issue in recent years with several high-profile cases. It is now possible to destroy someone’s career and reputation without a trial, let alone a guilty verdict from a Court of Law.
The current climate means that any allegation, however, fabricated, can be enough to destroy a person’s reputation and career. This can be seen in the recent cases of prominent figures such as Huw Edwards and Daniel Korski, who faced this allegation without a trial or a guilty verdict. These salacious allegations alone were enough to harm their careers and tarnish their reputations.
This issue needs to be addressed by the powers that be. It should not be possible to destroy someone’s life and career without proof or a guilty verdict. These days, all that’s required for people to lose their livelihoods and reputations are false allegations and gossip from a money-hungry or politically motivated individual. This means that innocent people can be ruined while others can walk away completely unscathed, depending on what side of the political divide they stand on.
In a democracy, it is essential to remember that the Rule of Law is its foundation, and everyone has the right to a fair trial. It is in all our interests to ensure that we protect those who are innocent until proven guilty and ensure that any allegations must be backed up by evidence that can stand up to scrutiny in a court of law before any action is taken, even when it is those individuals we are fundamentally opposed to. We should not allow unfounded allegations and gossip to be enough to destroy someone’s career and reputation.
Those of you who are cheering on with pitchforks and torches raised today, remember that Politics change, and the tactics you use today could quickly come back to haunt you when the balance of power shifts away from you.