The recent shit storm over the expose about Zuma by Pauws raises some interesting issues.
The obvious ones are to do with the authors right to free speech, and the publics right to know all about the shenanigans of our appointed leaders.
The state argues that some elements in the book infringe on the secrecy act and are understandbly fighting to have the books taken down.
The fact the book had within 24 hour period been circulated on whatsap is a game changer.
If the state succeeds in blocking the books subsequent sales, the genie is out of the bottle and it will be a hollow victory. The public will read the book, what ever the outcome of the court.
There have been allegations that the author was behind the leak at some level and while he has denied involvement, his statements on social media imply that his need to profit from the book take second place to his need to be heard. And the leaked book will definitely get traction.
Finally there is a group that argues that the illegal distribution of the book in itself is an symptom of our corrupt morality. That we can pirate a book and deny the author and publisher their dues, serves to highlight what ails our society.
Problem is that if we accept that on this new world one is able to, if you sacrifice the profit, reach a far wider audience through social media.
If the text is defamatory, or represents hate speech or fake news, it seems like there would be no defence or consequence that prevents the dissemination.
Even if one was able to get a court order so stop the publisher, one would not be able to stop the text from trending on social media.
Maybe it's time that we took a moment to absorb what this means for our privacy.
If somebody was to write a character assassination piece, hatchet job, or something that incited hate, or violence, the antiquated legal system is unable to prevent its spread.
And nothing you did or didn't do could make it right.
M Parak 2017