How To Fight Against ‘Fake News’

A decade ago, my father bought me a 10-box set encyclopedia. It kept me preoccupied for most of my childhood. I would spend a couple of hours reading and another couple of hours sketching from it.

A few years later, my school partnered with two big newspaper companies in the city. They devised a scheme to sell newspapers daily to its students with a ten percent discount. My love for books then translated into my love for newspapers.

Cut to present day. The internet is the greatest resource of information the world has ever seen. You’d think this would help traditional media to be better able to deliver fact-checked news to its publics but in many cases, that doesn’t happen.

Therefore, to keep up to date with fact-checked information, here are some tips –

  1. Investigative Journalism Sites – Get your facts Right:

That watchdog role of the journalist, of keeping government honest and business accountable, is critical. And of course that is something that the investigative journalists excel in. Therefore, if you want to follow analytical stories on the news, follow-up stories on big political scandals, objective news articles then independent non-profit investigative journalism sites are the way to go.

Investigative outlets from around the world:

Investigative outlets from India:

  1. Learn about framing and reframing techniques used by spokespersons:

A frame is a complex formation of unquestioned beliefs, values and so on that we use when inferring meaning. If any part of that is changed, then the meaning that is inferred may change (hence ‘reframing’).

To reframe, means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the ‘facts’ of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changing its entire meaning.

We make meaning from our general surroundings by taking a set number of realities and deducing or accepting other details to have the capacity to comprehend things. Reframing leaves the facts alone however may well test the assumptions. With care, you can change the other individual’s reality without causing conflict.

The words, phrases, one-liners or metaphors that we use often lead to an over or under interpretation of reality. Have a look at this:

Freedom fighter – Terrorist
Illegal immigrant – Undocumented worker
Climate change – Global warming
Modernisation – Reorganisation
Genetic modification – Genetic manipulation
A critical review – A cynical review
Electromagnetic fields – Electrosmog
Biofuel – Ethanol

Many political spokespersons use many of the opposing words given above to make their arguments seem favorable to their target audience.

Don’t let them condition your views. Learn to have your own.

Source: edx.com/framingandreframing.com

(To learn more about this, there are courses available on coursera and edx.com, please do look them up.)

  1. Incorporate a Digital Diet:

Some may argue that the millennials aren’t taking advantage of the internet as well as we would have hoped. A lot of them are obsessed with social media. They can’t seem to get away from it. Therefore, incorporating a digital diet in your life could help you change that.

A Digital Diet will help you be active in the moment. It will enhance your connections with your general surroundings. Starting a digital diet will help you cut down on using gadgets and services. It helps retain the stuff that works and disposing of the stuff that doesn’t.

Unfollow unnecessary accounts on your social media and replace them with educational ones. Follow investigative online sites and science based websites. Incorporate social media accounts or websites on topics you believe you need to learn to improve yourself.

  1. Educate yourself through free online courses:

Always keep yourself educated. If there’s something you want to re-learn from school, use sites like khanacademy.com. If you want to learn about topics from subjects that weren’t available to you in college, then study from coursera, edx, udemy & futurelearn. If you want to learn a new language, look no further than duology.com

Always keep educating yourself!

  1. Make new connections, travel and learn about new cultures:

This is fairly self-explanatory.

– Ishaan Lahiri

Ishaan Lahiri is a student of the PG Programme in Public Relations at SCoRe. He has completed his Bachelors in Psychology from Ambedkar University, Delhi.

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