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Fake News: Challenge Facing Mainstream Media

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KUALA LUMPUR – The presence of news portals, fueled by the spread of unverified news on social media, has resulted in the glut of false and controversial news.

Senior lecturer, Communication Department, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Dr Syed Agil Alsagoff said it affected the people, the information delivery industry and the mainstream media.

“I see this as causing anxiety among the mainstream media and also the people because it brings negative propaganda implication to the information delivery system. This indirectly, makes the portals very popular and reduce the people’s confidence on the role of the mainstream media,” he said.

Syed Agil believed the presence of unreliable sources also could indirectly influence the attitude, thinking and behaviour of the society.

Hence, the decline in the people’s confidence in the mainstream media for its ethical reporting, he said when asked to comment on the challenge facing media practitioners in facing new competition in conjunction with National Journalists’ Day (HAWANA), which would be celebrated for the first time this April 11.

A lecturer at the Faculty of Communications and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM), Ahmad Farami Abdul Karim, said based on his observation, the environment of the news-related information industry was being dominated by the digital media using various platforms and with various contents.

“Look at the information and news contents in the social media which the media practitioners have to compete, who send first, what information to be released that will be a challenge to their profession and ethic.

“Readers now easily and are quick at interpreting news without checking if the contents are true or accurate, and this gives rise to misinterpretation and fake news.

“They (readers) also want news with human interests and short,” he told Bernama recently.

He said when media practitioners no longer became the main option, compared with other sources which were dubious, inaccurate information fueled by sentiments and emotion would be more prioritise than the truth.

Meanwhile, deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Prof Datuk Dr Adnan Hussein said verification of news and information would ensure the future of media practitioners.

“Verification of the news and information is important because what we report is not based on hearsay or partial. We deliver the truth, avoid fake news.

“News is not the same as opinion because everybody can give their opinions. Journalists will continue to be regarded credible through proof of recording and video,” he said.

Kosmo assistant news editor Mohd. Turmadzi Madun said among the challenges facing the media was on netizens wanting to be “journalists” in getting to be the first to report, even though the materials obtained were based on hearsay or just rumours.

Agenda news editor Ayatullah Helme Mohd Hanafi opined that the challenges facing the media today were speed and accuracy.

Its only when the fake news has gone round half of the world that the truth surfaces and by then, it’s already too late, he said.

“The mainstream media cannot obtain information from unreliable sources because of the various implications. As for the portals, when they make mistakes, all they do is to do the correction and nobody bothers. Imagine, if the mainstream media were to make the mistakes,” he said.

Sinar Harian deputy news editor Mohd Fazli Zainul Abidin said the media industry was becoming more challenging, especially the print media, which saw a decline in their sale of newspapers, with the existence of the social media and Facebook.

“This situation makes the people to opt for the digital and social media which is free. News in the social media are spread by irresponsible people, high-risk and contain sensitive element as they do no go through or filtered by journalistic ethics.

“Information through this medium gets viralled easily, even though the truth of the information has yet to be ascertained,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to is scheduled to join local media practitioners at the inaugural National Journalists’ Day (Hawana) celebration, themed ‘Championing the People, Building the Nation’, at the Matrade Convention and Exhibition Centre here on April 11. – BERNAMA


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