Fake news is another level of media manipulation beyond propaganda and it is becoming increasingly commonplace thanks to social networking and ubiquitous connectivity. Researchers in India, writing in the International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication suggest that India needs an evolution in policy to stem the flow of fake news.
Raj Kishore Patra of the Department of Mass Communication and Media Technology at Khallikote University, in Berhampur, Odisha, and Arpita Saha of the Xavier School of Communications at Xavier University, in Bhubaneswar, suggest that the spirit and ethics of journalism are compromised by fake news and the public perception of the place of ethical journalism within the modern information sphere. The social media giants seem not to have the strength of policy to cope with fake news and the regulatory authorities too are apparently somehow debilitated by the scale of the issue. The team adds that frail and inadequate public policies cannot monitor nor counteract this progressive dysfunction within the media.
The team has examined the origins of fake news, its gradual emergence and how the advent of social media which gave everyone a place to voice their opinions in public has pushed it to such a level that even those in power not only utilize it without impunity but endlessly accuse their opponents of exploiting it to their detriment.
Fake news can confuse and dupe adults, it can lead to culture jamming, polarization of opinion, obstruction of reality, and harassment of conventional mainstream media who become perceived not only as purveyors of fake news but also being biased against those who believe the fakery and peddling lies those who believe they are beyond that confusion. The presence and spread of fake news on social media and elsewhere represent a setback to what we might otherwise perceive as human progress. In many circles, there is little desire to impose legal constraints, which might be seen as restrictions on free speech. We must hope that journalistic integrity and professional ethics will prevail and ultimately quash the voices of those peddling and echoing fake news.
Patra, R.K. and Saha, A. (2019) ‘Fake news circulation on social media and the need for a policy evolution in India’, Int. J. Advanced Media and Communication, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.282–308.