Fighting against the fake news by providing the public with authentic information is the duty of responsible media outlets, a virtual journalism symposium was told this week.
In congratulatory remarks to the online World Journalists Conference 2020, which was hosted by the Journalists Association of South Korea from Sept 14 to 16, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said that the world has been besieged by the COVID-19 epidemic, an unprecedented moment in his lifetime, and subsequent economic recession. Meanwhile, the world is also grappling with "fake news" that "spreads like wildfire".
He said that such misinformation poses a serious social problem threatening the health and safety of citizens, and the South Korean government is making the utmost effort in preventive measures to avert an "infodemic". He cited a paper published in a United States journal, which says that misinformation about COVID-19 has led to about 800 deaths and 5,800 hospitalizations.
"That 'fake news' poses such a real threat to human lives should sound an alarm," he said. "I believe this demonstrates how vital trustworthy information is."
Mashiul Alam, senior assistant editor of The Daily Prothom Alo in Bangladesh, said previously fake news did not create serious problems to such extent as it has been doing in recent years, due to the very high speed and the vast extent of social communication networks.
"It is essential to fight and defeat fake news, and the ultimate way to do that is to serve the people with authentic information and truth. And that is a duty and professional responsibility of journalism," he said, adding that independent and ethical journalism only can save the people from the flood of rumors, fake news, and conspiracy theories.
Margaret Ojalvo, a Colombian senior journalist, said that since the COVID-19 pandemic began this year, millions of fake articles and posts regarding coronavirus have been detected.
Detecting fake news is not easy. According to Forbes magazine's, about 70 percent of Latin Americans are unable to differentiate fake news from real journalism, she said.
She said that the consequences and scope of fake news impact the political, social, economic, academic fields, among others, as well as many aspects of their development and relationships regionally and globally.
She urged Latin American media outlets to work hard to ensure that readers, TV viewers, radio listeners, and followers always receive true, validated and secure news.(By Chen Yingqun)