You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2017 05 05Article 535303

Opinions of Friday, 5 May 2017

Columnist: Ghanaian Times

Fake news and the damage to journalism

One major concern about the advent of social media in news gathering and reporting is the phenomenon of “fake news.”

Fake news is mostly traced to news websites or sometimes mainstream news media who deliberately publish fake news for example-hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation purporting to be real news often using social media to drive web traffic and amplify their effect.

This worrying trend is gradually eroding the gains made by the free and credible sources of news and information on the media landscape.

The phenomenon has sent civil society, academia and professional media practitioners thinking about what to do and asking questions as to how to ensure that fake news do not overtake the flow of credible information.

Many others are also beginning to express the fear that society may soon lose trust in news sources, in the face of increasing number of fake news on social media.

Whether these fears are meritorious or not, it is undeniable fact that the media plays a very important role for society by bringing veritable news to the public.

Indeed, in Ghana, social media also provides the platform for dialogue and debate on very important national issues and, therefore, has a very large following.

Dissemination of information, discussions and debates as well as “fake news” trend on social media and with a click of the button, can be accessed all over the world.

The danger here is that, these fake news could trigger confusion, particularly in an era of increasing threat to global peace.

The other challenge that fake news poses is that media responsibility which is a critical hallmark of journalism, is completely sacrificed.

At the end of the day no one owns up or gets punished for fake news and, if, a particular fake news is published to cause confusion, it may be impossible to prevent it.

Whether a media personnel, a social media user, academic and civil society member, infact, we all owe it as a duty to be responsible enough to avoid posting fake news on social media.

Each of us have the responsibility and a role in contributing to preventing fake news from taking over the flow of credible information across the world.

It is, important for each of us to remember the role professional journalism has played in the orderly development of the world.

Let’s not allow fake news to take over.