Verifying content and sources of news stories important to combat HOAX

Verifying content and sources of news stories important to combat HOAX

“We need to promote a healthy democracy...and so ‘hoax news’ should be our enemy": Secretary of State for Social Communication, Merício ‘Akara’ Juvenal dos Reis (Image/Robert Baird)

DILI, 07 july 2021 (TATOLI) – The Secretary of State for Social Communications (SECOMS) informed that having a good ability in identifying and evaluating the sources and contents of the news story is important to fight HOAX or fake news in the country.

The Secretary of State for Social Communications (SECOMS), Merício Juvinal dos Reis ‘Akara’ said SECOMS had been collaborating with state institutions and other entities, including media to keep raising the awareness of the citizens through civic education to fight HOAX or fake news in the country.

“We need to have a good capacity on how to communicate in this digitalization era. We need to be critical in identifying and evaluating the sources and contents of a news story. If the news is published or produced by unreliable sources with negative content, then we don’t need to share or spread the information. In addition, news consumers need to know the benefits of the news story to themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Akara.

He said, the media plays a crucial role in fighting HOAX, saying, therefore, the media need to provide credible and trustworthy information to society by verifying all the facts, data, and evidence before publishing a story.

At the same place, Rev. Bento Barros Perreira, one of the speakers of the seminar states that disinformation is false information that is intended to mislead, especially information issued by a person, group, or organization to get support from others.

“There are three fundamental reasons for people to keep spreading the misinformation news – agitation and propaganda, profit-driven, and publicity. According to my point of view, people keep producing fake news because media platforms give them space as well as lack of awareness of the internet users in examining information on the internet. People share and spread the fake news only to serve their personal and group interest rather than public interest,” said Perreira.

He said in Timor-Leste, the fake news rate increased during the election campaign, particularly by political parties: “In terms of social, Timorese people spread the fake news as a way of revenge and self-defense.”

Perreira informed that fake news is written in a journalistic approach, making it to be easily trusted in society, saying the consequence is people can make wrong decisions after consuming the news and leave their lives in uncertainty.

“There are only two ways to combat the misinformation in the country, first by evaluating the source of the news, whether it is a credible source or not. Second, we need to know who the writer is and the evidence or data,” said Perreira.

In addition, the President of Timor-Leste’s Press Council, Virgílio da Silva Guterres said that Digital Literacy is an urgent need for Timorese internet users to know how to select relevant information on the internet.

“Those who produce the misinformation news are not ordinary people. These people are intellectuals, who are well educated and have enough information to produce a well-written piece of a fake news story. The Press Council found that fake news stories often spread during the election campaign. One important key to fight the misinformation is education, family education, and digital literacy,” said Guterres.

Related news:MAPCOMS-SECOMS conduct international seminar on global digitalization and impacts on TL

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Rafy Belo


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