Nazir Afzal OBE


Nazir Afzal OBE of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners describes the nature of online truth and how, when it comes to free speech, we must strike the balance between rights and responsibilities.

Mishcon Academy: What is “Post Truth”?

Nazir Afzal OBE
Association of Police and Crime Commissioners

Post truth is just a lie.  When I was brought up the feeling was that if it’s written down somewhere it must be true.  You know, if you told me I might be suspicious of it, but obviously everything on-line is written down so people are now paying greater attention to it and adding greater value to it than it should be, but I think we’ve just got to educate people to look for secondary sources to back up what they’ve heard in the first place rather than simply accept what’s written as truth.

Free speech is absolutely essential as far as democracies are concerned, however, free speech requires regulation, it requires legitimate restriction and requires law, and with every freedom there are responsibilities and so what we have to do is ensure that people are able to make great use of social media, which is clearly a force for good, but at the same time recognise that there are people being harmed by some things that are being said or written and so it’s that balance that has to be struck between your rights and your responsibilities.