The Media and our freedom of interpretation

In our democracy everybody should feel free to express his opinion and share information, yet as we are first of all citizens of our country with a shared history and having a common destiny hence we need to be very cautious.
With globalization and access to media messages, everyone involved in producing these messages has a great responsibility to their own understanding of freedom and to their own conscience, to make sure what they publish or broadcast, hand on heart, is as free of ulterior motives, as free of bias and as free of vested interests as it can be.  Social Media should not be abused by generating hatred, offending individuals to the point of humiliation, widening the gap between different individuals and parties. This is intolerable and unacceptable for any society.
If we impose limits by way of government we are entering the domain of restriction. Meanwhile, government needs to protect individuals and groups against malicious forms of defamation and hateful attacks on identities without confusing such protection with efforts to channel public awareness in certain prescribed directions. Nevertheless, living in a digital world today it is virtually impossible to police the media given that we now live in a global village.
Differences exist; yet for us to co-exist happily we must acknowledge and respect these differences, and find the right balance that allows us to live together. We cannot, and should not want to standardize our cultures and religions, and we should not be fearful to discuss the differences between us openly and learn to respect and appreciate and use these differences to live in a better world. The alternative is greater division, terror and a real threat to the very foundation of our world's society that could end up in balkanization such as what has happened to former Yugoslavia. Mauritius is praised for being a multi racial island living in harmony however, we need to be very cautious on these subjects that could easily degenerate in complete chaos and end up destroying this harmony which we are all so proud of.
Freedom and liberty should encourage respect and tolerance to all beliefs and that should be the cornerstone of upholding these values. Publishers and broadcasters should be able to portray images and situations that might offend people's religious sensibilities, however they should be careful how they are communicated to the public.  Freedom comes with responsibility.
We receive different types of information that are accessible like:
•    informative,
•    manipulative,
•    promotional
•    destructive
The frontiers delimitating the above is a fine line and furthermore subject to individual interpretation directly related to the person’s cultural background, exposure and circumstances.
How then do we digest, interpret such types of information? Is there a module to teach us how to handle such types of information?
Using our Emotional Intelligence ( E I ) , some of the approaches are :
•    Media output needs to be seen in its wider context and taken  with a pinch of salt, always bearing in mind the complex process behind producing it;
•    Understanding the different aspects of the subject, taking an analytical view and drawing one’s own conclusion;
•    Taken with humour,  if considered as nonsense and avoid any excitement ;
•    Maturity to ignore the information if it’s main purpose is to create havoc amongst the population.
What can be done to develop this capacity to analyse , digest and to respond accordingly?
Mauritians tend to react to sensational news and can be easily influenced by what they read and what they hear. On the other hand it should be noted that free speech and newspaper articles,  without limits is an invitation to indulge the worst negative impulses that could then have dramatic effects on society at large.
When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts. -- Dalai Lama
Unfortunately, the education system in Mauritius does not cater for this type of thinking, we are still in a very academic situation whereby everything we learn are from theoretical books , where there is no time to develop our creativity.
In Mauritius we have a tendency to suppress our children’s freedom by not teaching them to have an open mind while facing new challenges, criticisms, manipulative information , i.e to develop a creative thinking mindset and the ability “to think outside the box”.
Creativity is nurtured by freedom and suppressed by the incessant monitoring, evaluation, constant adult-direction, and pressure.  We live in a fuzzy world, with few questions having one right answer as in our textbooks, few problems have one right solution; that’s why creativity is crucial to succeed in the real world.  But more and more we are imposing our  children to an educational system that assumes one right answer to every question and one correct solution to every problem, a system that punishes children (and their teachers too) for daring to try optional or non conventional routes.  We are also,  increasingly depriving children of free time outside school,  to play, discover and experience  new things, overcome boredom, experience failure and find solutions—all these experiences will help them develop their full creative potential.
We, as adults must realize that with the evolving world we should help our children to become more resilient and not just follow the crowd or act like robots and parrots with little or no creativity.

Our children, the adults of tomorrow, need to have an open mind to consolidate our “Rainbow nation “. How to do this? With the help of the parents who should motivate them to have an open mind, with an education system that should develop their creativity and not focus only on the academic side.
Each individual should make use of his frame of reference, before taking in, judging or making an opinion on something that has been published or broadcasted.
Liberty of expression is a “given” we should make the best of it, sometimes there will be abuse which cannot be controlled or censured. It is up to us to analyse these info and see how it should be interpreted in order not to create hatred and chaos in our society.
We should promote imagination, respect and tolerance while educating our children otherwise our world will not be able to face up to the level and type of information that will keep on increasing in the future.
Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self-confidence.  -- Robert Frost