April Fool’s stories must not be banned – leader comment

The publication of April Fool’s stories by mainstream media outlets is a fine tradition, not a threat to national security.

We can all learn something from the wisdom of fools and jesters (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

Any media organisation receiving a UK Government ‘D-Notice’ – a warning that they may be about to publish information which could put national security at risk – is bound to treat it seriously.

It is most unusual to ignore such a notice and press ahead with publication, but today The Scotsman feels compelled to do just that.

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There is a long and fine tradition of the mainstream media publishing April Fool’s stories for the amusement of readers and the Government’s heavy-handed attempt to ban such stories – on the spurious grounds that spreading what they refer to as ‘fake news’ during the coronavirus crisis is a threat to national security – must be resisted.

We note with interest that social media ‘influencers’ were exempted from the attempted ban, with a Whitehall source revealing it was deemed impractical to stop most of them from talking nonsense even on one day of the year.

As the leading philosopher Flo Parilo points out, April Fool’s stories are a reminder to all of us to retain a sensible degree of scepticism about what we read and hear.

For it may not always be true.

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