FAKE NEWS: Are you guilty?

Disinformation and misinformation contribute to fake news. I am putting it plainly, “Fake News Can Kill”. It is as good as using a knife or a gun to take life.

Let’s say you received a message from someone whom you hardly know, stating that they heard someone else say that so and so (an innocent bystander) was disturbing a married woman. And you decided to viral it in your whatsapp group. And one person in your group happens to take the law into his own hands; gathering a team of like-minded enthusiasts they physically assault an innocent man. The man dies due to cardiac arrest caused by an unintended ‘kick’ on the chest.

Your viral-ed hearsay resulted in the death of an innocent man and literally, you have blood on your hands, “You killed a man with Fake News”. Are you guilty?

Fake News is unverified pieces of information gathered and presented by ‘YOU” to the public either intentionally (disinformation) or unintentionally (misinformation).

Seriously readers! You need to take cognizance when retransmitting news that waits anxiously on your palms.

Until and unless the source of the news – text, picture, video or verbal communication – is verified, it should not be re-transmitted. If “You” are a responsible person, a member of your community of good standing, then you must be the end to any information not verified by reliable sources.

‘News’ is basically the reporting of happenings around you. In the past around 5 BC, it was by sign language and as poignantly presented by editor, Dirksen Bauman in Open Your Eyes – Deaf Studies Talking, he writes of Socrates saying, ” “If we hadn’t a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn’t we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body, just as dumb people do at present?”

When, with the advent of true writing – originating in ancient Sumer-Mesopotamia – where content of linguistic utterance was constructed to enable a reader to reconstruct it close to accuracy and became acceptable over centuries, precise news sharing became trend.

It is imperative that writing is complete with purpose and meaning, and explicitly communicated in text with minimum distortion. The foremost strength of writing is the ability for humans to use it to record information in detailed accuracy.

Spoken words are highly inaccurate and open to abuse. The invention of recording tools has heightened accuracy and has brought both – writing and recording – to a new level where it is now accepted and used to complement each other when disseminating ‘News’

What used to be journalistic integrity the linchpin of credibility is in the 21st Century a fad. Incompetent, morally untrained, self-aggrandizing and so called celebrity-journalist masquerading as reporters are infiltrating the ‘News-pool’. Add in saucy-fingered smartphone owners, you have, “Now Everyone Can Report” overwhelming us. This is already beginning to cause “Civil Discord” and could possibly lead to mayhem.

Should ‘Fake News” dissemination through any public medium be considered a punishable crime?

Let us know what you think…mychillistory@gmail.com