Elon Musk, the owner of X (previously known as Twitter), has called on the public to engage in citizen journalism, stressing its potential to “change the world.” He made these remarks after his livestreamed visit to Eagle Pass, Texas, where he witnessed the migrant crisis firsthand.
Musk has long been a vocal advocate for unrestricted speech, previously stating, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy,” and questioning Twitter’s adherence to this principle prior to his acquisition of the platform.
Expanding on his advocacy, Musk took to Twitter on Friday to encourage citizen journalism, stating, “Please encourage more citizen journalism! You can do live video easily from your phone. More on-the-ground reporting from regular citizens will change the world.”
His call for citizen journalism drew comparisons to the vision of Andrew Breitbart from 2011. Breitbart had criticized the bias of mainstream media and suggested that the rise of citizen-led media would address the shortcomings of traditional outlets. He famously stated, “If you are not going to correct yourself, we’re going to create a media in the wake of your incompetency.”
During a recent conversation with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, Musk delved deeper into the topic of free speech. He highlighted the challenges of maintaining freedom of speech on global platforms, particularly in regions with stricter regulations.
Musk argued that open dialogue, even with divisive opinions, is crucial to countering misunderstandings and biases. He stated, “In the U.S. we are able to be much more free of speech; in some other parts of the world much less so, where we have the choice of either providing the X platform or it being shuttled or throttled.”
He further emphasized the importance of allowing hate speech to be heard and addressed, rather than suppressing it. Musk believes that listening to and countering hateful beliefs is more effective than allowing those beliefs to fester in secret.
When asked about strategies for resisting governmental pressures and censorship, Musk affirmed his commitment to resist censorship to the maximum extent allowed by law. He noted that in the U.S., the greatest pressure comes from left-leaning activist groups who advocate for their values under the guise of combating hate speech.
Musk stated, “Our policy is to resist any attempts to get censorship to the maximum degree allowed by law… What they’re trying to do there is impose extremely far-Left values on X and other platforms under the guise of hate speech, but it is, in fact, a matter of politics.”
Musk’s call for citizen journalism and his commitment to free speech have sparked conversation and debate about the role of traditional media and the power of ordinary citizens to shape public discourse. As technology continues to democratize information sharing, it remains to be seen how citizen journalism will evolve and impact our understanding of the world.