– GPA President advises public to fact-check
In the weeks leading up to elections, several obscure blogs have popped up purporting to be credible news sources.
These outlets have propagated false news about candidates in the 2020 election race, inflaming an already heated election cycle.
One such instance of fake news is displayed in the attached image, from a site purporting to be Stabroek News. Like this example, the page sharing the report has a name very similar to that of the actual media house. Additionally, the web address below the report is also not that of the publication, which it claims to be. More gullible social media users are likely to gloss over these crucial details.
Persons sympathetic to one party or another may also fall prey to fake news reports, because of confirmation bias.
Social media sites like Facebook all provide an option to report pages, accounts and links posted on the site, which propagate false information. If a person is desirous of having a fake report removed, they may use this option. In time, the website’s staffers will receive and probe the report, and have it removed if it is determined to be false.
Journalists have taken to social media, urging social media users not to share false reports. One such person is Guyana Press Association (GPA) President Nazima Raghubir. In a Facebook post, Raghubir expressed the importance of fact-checking reports before one believes and/or shares them.
She said that persons should ask basic questions such as – Are known and reputable media houses and/or journalists reporting this information?
Raghubir also noted a few points to remember during this election season.
“Official information on elections can only come from GECOM.”
GECOM’s public relations officer, Yolanda Ward, has made herself available to the media corps to correct any misinformation that is being propagated about GECOM’s work.
Raghubir also stated:
“Politically parties will only share information that benefits them.
Before sharing, ensure that you check across all media that an incident or report is authentic.
While some media houses may break news or information, others may follow suit. Drink some tea or coffee and wait if you are unsure about how it is unfolding, before you share.
“Social media commentators are not journalists, the latter have or should run their information through many fact checking mills before they report it. So, proceed with caution when/if contemplating sharing anything by commentators.
Finally, social media can tend to charge an already volatile and tense election period. Keep your comments clean, respectful and free of racial slurs.”
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