Witch hunt* in the 21 century

*Definition of “witch hunt”:

1. Essentially, it is a targeted attack against one person, for reasons that are not necessarily tangible. Trying to find someone to target and humiliate.

Source: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Witch%20Hunt

2. A witch-hunt or witch purge is a search for people labelled "witches" or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic or mass hysteria. […] In current language, "witch hunt" metaphorically means an investigation usually conducted with much publicity, supposedly to uncover subversive activity, disloyalty and so on, but really to weaken political opposition.

Source: Wikipedia

Centuries ago the perception of justice was very different from the way it is nowadays. It was sometimes taken to extreme limits – people were often beheaded, burned at the stake, disembodied, hung or shot, even without a trial. There were times, back in the day, when accusations were based solely on claims or assumptions. The presumption of guilt, meaning one is considered guilty unless proven innocent. Sadly, most of the people, sentenced to death, were never given the chance to prove their innocence. Almost all of the executions were performed in public. Why? Because the people need to see that the rulers of the country are taking good care of them by dealing with bad citizens. See and fear authority because public punishment means obedience of the folk. And most of all, something that has always been sought by society and generously used by various institutions as a powerful tool for control – bread and circuses. If the masses are kept happy their eyes will be wide shut for the truth. Even if it is put right before their faces.

After this brief retrospective, let us travel through time until nowadays. A lot has changed in the way societies work, the humanity has accomplished so much and evolved in the way they see and build the world around them. The four fundaments upon which modern democracy has been built according to the principles of the rule of law are: legislative, executive, judiciary and press (media). And surely, one cannot go without the other. It is common knowledge.

A healthy society is shaped by all the four estates operating hand in hand, working together towards the better future of the whole community. The fourth power - the press, has been constantly gaining momentum. Its power is growing more and more, not only strongly influencing public opinion but also, in some cases, pushing the other three estates out of the picture.

Social media is affecting the way we think, assume, believe and look at things. It’s the press’ duty to tell us real facts and news, things that actually happened and are credible. Media has no right to be taking over the role of a judge. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a concept that took hundreds of years to entrench in our legal system and in society’s collective self-awareness. And it is a vital protection against punishments of the innocent and also an international human right under the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11. But now, because of media civil liberties are at stake.

Is there anyone, considering it to be appropriate to make unproven allegations and to invent stories in order to destroy careers, derail the legal process, demean or discredit someone, simply with the aim of more views/subscriptions and a wider audience? Enforcing justice in public and even without a sentence – how is that a democratic principle? It has already become something common to see fake news all over the internet, published and disseminated by certain media outlets. Individuals and companies, completely ruined, brought down to their knees by those fake news. How is that any different from the justice methods in Mediaeval times? Isn’t this a witch hunt?

Please excuse us for breaking one of the basic rules in journalism by not naming the actual defamation /s and slender/s that we based that statement on. Just an exception, just today. The reason – we are much better than that.

!NB OneLife Ltd. would like to clarify the following in order to avoid any possible future misunderstandings that might arise after the position above is published: We like to refrain from making generalizations – no matter the case. The position above is directed at outlets that tend to give a tribune to fake news. We would like to take the occasion and express our gratitude and respect to every media outlet all over the world which values the truth and insists on working according the main laws of journalism – professional ethics and integrity!

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