Fake news deterrence to progress: speakers
Fake news and misinformation are a severe deterrence to the progress of any nation, and it can act as a major threat to society if not dealt with now, media and security analysts have said.
They said a new era of alternative truth has prevailed, and it has been difficult to keep up with it.
"If not dealt with now, fake news can act as a major, and perhaps lethal, threat to society," said Shafqat Munir, research fellow of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS), at a workshop yesterday.
The interactive event was attended by young professionals, students and youth representatives from various disciplines, according to a press statement.
At the workshop – "Developing a Critical Understanding against Fake News & Disinformation", organised by BIPSS at a hotel in the capital – he said society has evolved at a rapid pace in the last decade but so have the methods of producing fake news.
Key information, such as the legitimacy of the Covid-19 vaccine, are put under question due to propaganda. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for individuals to know how to discern fake news from authentic ones, especially for the youth, Munir said.
"The most prioritised target audience of misinformation is the youth. They are a vulnerable population and it is important for us to make sure they can distinguish between what is authentic and what is fake," said Maj Gen ANM Muniruzzaman.
He further added that the impact of misinformation is absolutely pervasive and it touches all sectors of society.
"This can lead to massive security implications and result in social destabilisation."
Prothom Alo consulting editor (English) Ayesha Kabir; Sharlina Hossain-Morgan, cultural affairs officer of the US Embassy in Dhaka, Subham Barua and Tasnuva Alam Ahona, interns of the BIPSS Research Team, conducted the sessions.
Sharlina Hussain-Morgan said most people did not know much about fake news until Donald Trump made it notorious.
She emphasised that the youth should not feel powerless when it comes to tackling these challenges and they should take firm initiative as the nation's future generation of leaders to fix the problem.
Ayesha Kabir said there is always a rush to publish breaking news but delivering genuine content is what is most important.
There could be severe reader satisfaction from a major "hit" but consumers being able to be read the truth is what media outlets ought to prioritise, he added.