Initiatives to Counter Fake News

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This post is written by Sukhleen Kaur Saluja, a 1st year Law student from Amity University, Chhattisgarh

Fake news is harmful to our community or society because it erodes trust and purposefully try to make bad impression on public. It is written with intent to mislead public and it will as long as human civilization exists. It becomes prevalent over last few years with over 1,000 of articles and rumors with regard to 2016 United state presidential election. Disinformation is spread intentionally, fake news are not misinformation.

First we need to understand the term of “FAKE NEWS” that is

  • Misinformation: false information, but the person spreading this information believes that it is true.
  • Disinformation: false information, but the person spreading this information knows this information is false. It means it is shared intentionally.

Fake news is spread intentionally or deliberately. If see of now in present there are fake news or disinformation spread of COVID-19. These are as follows:

  • A videos and images were uploaded on social media of a city in Italy with several dead bodies.
  • Image of a doctor couple who treated 134 patients before die from the effect of disease or injury
  • A news was spread of 500 lions have been released on the street of Russia to stop people going out during the corona virus pandemic. The image of lions is from South Africa in 2016.
  • A image was edited of ambulance carrying and shown as patient of Covid-19(Perpetrators arrested)
  • Jio lifetime recharge.
  • Many of the Times photographs were shared which shows coffin lined up in Italy.

And many “Disinformation” is spread in whole world not only during Covid pandemic or only in this type of situation but each and every day, which we are not even aware of or we think it to be true. We just believe in that information, we don’t even try to find out that what we listen or see is fake or not, that news is widespread all over the world to make a wrong impression. The media who is spreading all these information should first be sure and then they should show it on television.

  • MEDIA LITERACY EDUCATION: This is one of the initiative we can take to fight against disinformation or fake news, what does it mean?

“Media Literacy Education” can fight against fake news wide spreading in our society as media literacy education requires critical thinking. Student with media literacy education can understand or make decision that the news is true/ false.

The Law graduates must know about the media literacy education as it require critical thinking which is a essential characteristics of a good lawyer , who can make decisions that what is true /false and so they can evaluate fake news because the answer to the solution is media literacy education which is very important for law graduates to study. What is a life of lawyer? What they need to do? The answer is to deal with truth and lies, to make a right decision, fight for truth, to give justice and most important he/she require critical thinking. So, overall it requires media literacy education for law graduates as it is an integral part of their lives. They must get this skill which they need because they have knowledge about what is right and what is wrong, no one can better understand that what is good or bad for our society.

WhatsApp, the most used app and the worst place from where the fake news spread. People forward those fake messages or images without even knowing that the information they have received is true or fake. The person who is forwarding this “disinformation” to groups or in personal is most important factor. This can only be stopped by giving education of Media Literacy Education where people can evaluate right or wrong and make decision, not only law graduates but if our education system start to teach all of us, even a bit information about media literacy will be given it will be beneficial for our community and because of this atleast once they will think before forwarding the message or they may make sure about the information, these is a must for our community because rumors or fake news are increasing day by day which is very harmful for our community.

Initiatives taken by  Countries like Brazil, China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Egypt, Argentina, Israel, Malaysia, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Nicaragua and Kenya.

 (a) CHINA: We know that spreading fake news is very harmful and in china under China’s criminal Law spreading fake news or information is a crime and is punishable by upto 7 years in prison.

(b) JAPAN: Fake news is a serious issue which Japanese government and people have faced in recent years. They have several laws that can counter fake news.

(c) EGYPT: They have faced 53,000 rumors widespread in Egypt just 6 days. They have adopted number of measure to counter fake news.

(d) CANADA: Currently, Canada has not taken any measure or initiatives to counter fake news, there is no law in Canada that prohibits the false information.

(e) KENYA: There was a spread of fake news during election season and they take initiatives to prohibit these when in May 2018 there was Computer misuse and cyber crimes but the Kenya Highcourt suspended the implementation and remain suspended to date. On March 2018, they launched one year media campaign aimed at countering false information.

Many of the countries have taken the initiatives to counter fake news as it create a wrong impression in public which is not good for our community. Here are some ways through which you on your own can evaluate about the information received is true or not:

  1. When you hear about the stories which you never heard before, you should immediately find out that who is the author/ publisher. If you came to know about the story from another person you should believe him only when you know about his reputation or his work experience.
  2. Some stories are like when we hear we cannot believe that it to be true means we can easily evaluate that it to be fake or real.
  3. People are making fake images by editing some pictures. Like one of the image was edited that ambulance carrying covid patient.

So, from all this I conclude that fake news or disinformation has a bad impact on peoples mind and to stop this Media Literacy Education should given to law graduates as critical thinking is an important characteristic of a good advocate and can make decision that what information is true /fake. Most importantly check the information you have received before forwarding it to anyone.

Image from The Hindu

 

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