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Editorial

Fake Local News

Fake Local News

This week we learned that laws may soon be passed to control the public’s behaviour online, when it comes to spreading false information on crimes, or other content to cause panic and fear among the public.

Currently, if one were to glance on their Facebook timelines and other social media pages, it’s not only flooded with the perennial “fake news” problem, which has been affecting users around the world.

Locally, as more gained access to the internet and with the increasing use of smartphones, persons have begun to turn to social media for their updates on what’s going on in the country. While legit media houses have been doing their part in promoting responsible journalism, there are others who are not equipped with the journalistic knowledge attempting to provide and share information.

For a regular user, it’s tough to discern real, accurate information from ‘hearsay’. Often times, the hearsay becomes the posts that go viral and the wrong information is spread.

Attorney General Faris Al Rawi this week said important amendments to the Cybercrime Bill have been made, taking into account the spread of information on social media.

Among the issues it also intends to tackle, is the disregard users show by posting images of murder or accident victims, which too, end up becoming viral. Such users, who act without regard for the persons affected or their families should be subject to some sort of regulation or reprimand. In other instances, the images are fake.

Not too long ago, the police service also warned the public against sharing false information on social media, including on Whatsapp, which would incite panic in the country.

For instance, there have been recent instances of persons or voice messages being spread with persons relating instances of attempted kidnappings or otherwise, which were subsequently deemed false by the police service.

Apart from these legislative amendments, the media’s role would also be to inform the public of their responsibilities online and the etiquette needed to reduce these instances of spreading fake news or causing panic with the click of a button.

Web Master

February 17th, 2017

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