WE News Holds Seminar on ‘Digital Media and Fake News’

Thu Mar 07 2024
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ISLAMABAD: WE News, Pakistan’s leading digital media outlet, on Thursday organized a seminar themed as, “Digital Media and Fake News” in Islamabad.

Former Federal Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, former Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi, former Chairman PEMRA Absar Alam, senior journalist and anchorperson Talat Hussain, senior journalists Omar Cheema, Asad Baig, and Sana Mirza participated in the seminar.

Addressing the event, Qamar Zaman Kaira highlighted the prevailing trend of propaganda and said that social media is only a tool, propaganda is already there. In propaganda one impose his or her opinion on others.

He said that media is an industry which uses sensationalism to increase viewership. Media is a part of our society and the evils that are in our society are also in the media. The more a person shouts on media, the more he gets the viewership.

Moral values ​​have weakened in our society, but now the question is how to survive the attack of artificial intelligence (AI), he added.

Addressing the seminar, Executive Director of Media Matters for Democracy Asad Baig said that most of the fake news is on Twitter and YouTube.

He said that we work on fact-checking to verify the news. Recently, we fact-checked 170 news items, and 87 of them were for the benefit of a political party. Fake news is associated with power and money. Fake news is spread for political and financial gain, he added.

Speaking at the seminar, renowned investigative journalist Omar Cheema said that fake news is an old problem but the difference now is that fake news travels very quickly due to social media.

He said that we need to make journalists realize that they may unknowingly spread fake news, and it is a good practice to retract and apologize which should not be delayed.

Well-known journalist Talat Hussain while speaking at the seminar, said that fake news was a part of our journalistic industry but now it has become a separate industry in which investments are regularly made.

Industry of Fake News

He said that human resources are provided for the purpose of fake news, and it earns profit. The industry has specific goals, so now we have to recognize this industry as a separate one which he termed as ‘fakedia’. Those who practice it are not journalists.

Renowned journalist Absar Alam said that fake news is not related to digital media. In ancient times, fake news was spread during wars to demoralize the opposing army. Since today’s politics has become a war, we feel its intensity more. Since war aims to eliminate the enemy, fake news is spread and the public is misled, he added.

Former Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi while speaking said that fake news is a global epidemic while it is a new fashion in our country.

He said “Seth Media” is extremely guilty in this, where the role of professional editors has disappeared. Platforms spreading fake news are doing business worth billions of rupees.

He suggested that a board of professional journalists should be formed at the national level to at least issue a certificate of condemnation to a journalist on fake news. Solangi also suggested tightening defamation laws.

Speaking at the seminar, the editor-in-chief of We News, Ammar Masood, said that the fifth-generation warfare was launched but it was not eradicated properly.

Some people are looking for fake news, he said, giving an example that he wrote a satirical column after being labelled as a “Lifafa Sahafi” (corrupt journalist) several times on social media. Ammar Massod added that in the column, he wrote about how people come to his doorstep with bags full of dollars, and he got a call from two TV channels saying that they are ready to listen and broadcast his revelations.

In his address, “We News” Director News Waseem Abbasi said that fake news is a big problem in today’s era and there is a need to raise awareness about it.

He said that the possibility of reporting fake news always existed in the media, but if it happens, a journalist and his or her organization should immediately remove that news item and apologize. However, many journalists and media houses spread fake news and wait for it to get viral, and do not even apologize for it.

Waseem Abbasi also shared his experiences regarding the one-year journey of We News.

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