As elections come calling in May’19 (widely expected), it is the menace of fake news that needs to be tackled on a war footing. Facebook has taken this seriously and plans to fight against fake news and misinformation in India. Its appointment of senior BBC journalist Trushar Barot to lead and develop the social media giant’s Integrity Initiatives for India says it all.
And that brings us to the question as to what exactly does the media do today? We have seen innumerable instances of inane celebrity news getting the lead story while a massacre or a Boko Haram killing would command a small one corner. It is not because the media does not know what is news – it produces news based on what the public wants, based on our perceptions.
Thus news is today selected and then “constructed”. It is journalists who decide what is newsworthy and how it needs to be presented – the audio, image, timing – everything is planned like a movie script. Journalists who were supposed to present news, are ‘professional story tellers of our age’.
Is this where we are heading? Is media relaible, at all? And, if yes, which form of media is the most reliable? The answers to most of the above questions are pretty straightforward: you cannot rely on a single form of media for news.
Each form of media has its own pros and cons and as a consumer, it is on us, to decide which form of media to trust. We cannot rely on only social media or web papers for news nor can we blindly trust the news shown on TV or that we hear on radio. In today’s age of information overload, we need to verify information from all sources to come up with our conclusion of what actually is news.