AT the United Nations, Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram raised a very important matter of fake news which in fact needs to be tackled through collective efforts and by pursuing a scientific-based approach without undermining the fundamental right of freedom of expression.
The envoy called on the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC) to fight the proliferating ‘fake news’ and disinformation on social media platforms.
Undoubtedly, Journalism has always remained a vital constituent of our society.
Journalists play a key role in making people aware of the happenings and developments in society.
This spread of information enables shaping the ideologies, orientations and thoughts of individuals as well as the society.
Contrary to this, the spread of misinformation or fake news leads to detrimental consequences.
With the advent of social media, the menace of fake news has become grievous due to the unrestrained propagation of information and difficulty to track several accounts operated by humans or bots.
Hence this matter needs to be handled head on.Turning a back is not an option as it will only further aggravate the situation.
Being the world body, the UN has a greater responsibility not only to hold deliberations on this matter but also encourage the member countries to come up with the necessary solutions.
The situation is that it has become difficult to confirm what is fake and not. In order to maintain an open, democratic system, it is important that governments, businesses and consumers work together to sort out such issues.
Governments should promote news literacy and strong professional journalism in their societies.
Legislation also needs to be introduced to curb the flow of the fake news but this should done in consultation with all the stakeholders, especially the media.
The news industry must provide high quality journalism in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation without legitimizing them.
It is also for the technology companies to invest in tools that identify fake news, reduce financial incentives for those who profit from disinformation and improve online accountability.