As my hand hovers over the keyboard, I press delete repeatedly and watch my thoughts simply disappear. I have always been outspoken. I know my own mind, and I speak it. It’s not something I have a problem with. I’m happy to debate and argue. I find listening to other opinions intriguing. I’m open minded. We can’t all be right.

But recently, I find myself tired of speaking out. Not in person, mind you. But online. On social media. In blogs. Post by post, little by little, the sound has been turned down.

The modern equivalent of the stocks, social media is the ultimate forum for throwing rotten tomatoes at folk with whom you simply don’t agree. Differences of opinion become magnified, and the responses personal.

Death threats, rape threats, just plain unpleasantness. It’s out there on the social-sphere. And there’s no protection. If words were deeds, our laws would protect us but sticks and stones may break our bones…. Names? They’ll never harm us, right?

Setting aside data scandals like Cambridge Analytica where we’re all supposed to have been cleverly manipulated by memes into voting one way (or another), there are serious implications at play here. Fear of rebuttal is slowly eroding our freedom of speech. And without freedom of speech, we will have no genuine democracy.

It’s time for our ancient laws to reform and for cyber behaviour to be moderated, properly.

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