HARIPUR: Speakers at an awareness session here the other day stressed the need for formulating rules for social media to control spread of fake news and disinformation.
They said that disinformation was fabricated and shared online or by other means to harm others and manipulate facts. They said that both misinformation and disinformation made it difficult to maintain a stable democracy and caused damage to societal peace and economy.
Local journalists and students of University of Haripur attended the session titled “Effects of fake news and misinformation on youth”. The session was arranged by Accountability Lab.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abdul Muhaiman, the dean of social sciences at University of Haripur, said that the only way to tackle misinformation and fake news was to educate people about the responsible use of media.
Sheikh Fakhar-i-Alam, media advisor to elementary and secondary education department, said that the people were exposed to social media. He said that social media influencers had access to more people as compared to journalists. “Most social media influencers have their own biases. Their followers are more vulnerable to misinformation,” he said.
He said that social media rules and laws should be formulated to control spread of disinformation and fake news.
Sadaqat Khan, a human rights activist, said that the fake news played a crucial role in fuelling hate and extremism. He said youth should be taught about reliable search engines to differentiate between authentic and fabricated information.
He said that capacity issues and lack of on job training for media persons exposed them to criticism by people. He said that only few media houses were following the concept of gate-keeping. He said that fake news could be controlled through effective implementation of laws dealing with slander and libel.
District Police Officer Imran Shahid also addressed the session and threw light on how fake news was affecting the performance of government departments.
Dr Waseem Ahmed and Dr Abid Farid was spoke on the occasion.