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Legendary Column: Social Media and the Falsification of News

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Legendary Column: Social Media and the Falsification of News

Legendary Column: Social Media and the Falsification of News

Legendary Column: Social Media and the Falsification of News

By: Sheku Putka Kamara

Maybe it makes sense to suppose that today’s globe has a serious threat to deal with in so far as the media’s agenda setting function is concerned. In this discourse, my propositions would not only be limited to traditional mediums of radio, television and newspaper. For the purposes of this narration, I shall be looking into how fake news and false information have disturbed quality and reliable social media agenda setting. This is not to suggest that social media does not come with positives, but the intent of these few lines is to suggest how news falsification is a problem and to also note the relevance of avoiding such potential risks and conflicting situations in society.

 

In this day and age, we all must be mindful that the power of the media cannot be overstated. The moment we realize this, the better for us all. However, there tends to be a huge and reasonable concern when what is not true and correct begins to inform what we come across either on Facebook or on WhatsApp in Sierra Leone. I am particular about FB and Sap in Sierra Leone because it is my assumption that there are more audiences of those two (almost all smart phone users) in Sierra Leone compared to other mediums like Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter etc. Theoretical media norms will tell us all that the media must be in a position to inform, educate and entertain all and sundry. Let us advance these arguments.

 

Facts and truths matter in any journalistic and or media dispensations. The problem however with social media among other things, is the fact that there is little or no control of such platforms in a country like Sierra Leone. So, what more or less obtains is the libertarian philosophy where anyone can say what he or she feels like saying or doing, unhindered. These levels of little controls have suggested that professionalism in such a sector would be a difficult thing to attain. A valuable recommendation would be to uphold a social responsibility model. With this, all of us would have agreed to be held accountable for the things we say and do. This makes so much sense in democratization and peace building processes.

 

Whenever I speak and or lecture on the topic social media and the falsification of news, I get the belief that there are people who may know that what they are doing is wrong and false, but because of attachments and or affiliations and any other reason, they tend to do what pleases their prejudiced consciences.  It is such trajectories that have added to the very many issues we have as a people and as a nation. I have always argued that what is right is right and that which is wrong is wrong. When judiciously utilized, social media could be a blessing, but when we concentrate on the demerits be it consciously or subconsciously, we are doing more harm and we do not want to be upholding such trends.

 

We can go on and on, but one thing that is clearer is the reality that social media usage comes with advantages and disadvantages. While those demerits exist, I am making a case that we must not allow same to overshadow the former. In most cases, I have postulated that an uninformed person cannot inform others and in like manner, an uneducated person may not possibly educate another. These concerns therefore speak to the fact that like what journalists are expected to do, all of us must have time to check and crosscheck the realities of situations before going public. That will aid in making things a whole lot easier. It pays to be true to self and to country and that is why we must make the relevant needed efforts.

 

I will end today’s legendary column by restating that the advent of social media has aided to compress time and space and with technological advancements, a lot has happened and is still happening. We now owe it to ourselves and to society to remain accurate, balanced and clearer in all of what we do. We need that because it helps. There must not be any room for falsity and fake news in society, unless we wish to plummet society in to the chasm of conflicts and destructions. This is why the responsible, credible, reliable and accurate usage of media contents and media agendas is always believed to be a positivist approach.  Let’s keep fixing these issues and make Sierra Leone better! REPOSTED

What do you think?

Written by Salone Messenger

Salone Messenger is a Global Multimedia and Public Relation Firm that brings young emerging leaders, bloggers, activists, and storytellers to tell inspiring stories of change-makers and build a community of young people telling human interest stories using smartphones.

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