Social reform needed to combat fake news: American professor

"We must only have individual decisions to determine what to believe and what not to believe," Steven Reiner said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Social reform is necessary to combat fake news in the digital era, as every person has self-control and responsibility to evaluate information to be believed or ignored, Steven Reiner, professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Stony Brook University said.

"We must only have individual decisions to determine what to believe and what not to believe," he said during a workshop on Media Literacy and Press Freedom, held by American Embassy, in Jakarta on Wednesday.

As part of social reforms, people should use critical thinking and verification to ensure the truth of the information or news before spreading it to others.

"Democracy needs reform of citizenry," he stated.

He called on the people to evaluate the sources of the information carefully, have sense of critical analysis and judgment, and put every piece of information into context.

"Think once before you act, twice before you speak, and thrice before you post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter," he noted.

During the workshop, Reiner emphasized that peoples ability to differentiate fake news with fair news will be challenged.

In the digital age, people cannot avoid the various forms of information spread on social media, including fake news.

With the sophistication of digital technology, everyone has the opportunity to post something in social media without thinking whether the information is true and ensuring the credibility of the information.

"Dont share anything without verifying," he remarked.

As information can be widely accessed by the crowd, every person must be careful to spread the information they receive. Therefore, consumers also need to become smart in analyzing and verifying the information and sources of news.

"In the digital age, we are responsible to determine what to believe," he emphasized.

Reiner also said that the way to prevent distribution of fake news is by not sharing it to others. Before sharing any information, you need to verify it first.

"Dont share. Dont click (fake news)," he said.

The workshop held on May 2 and 3 was part of activities to commemorate the 2017 Word Press Freedom Day.(*)

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