The impact of fake news in our local, regional and international communities

‘…in the upsence of truth, lies becomes the truth’

By Nyasha Nhau

Most people across the globe believes fake news while the study tells that in develpoed countries like the United States of America (USA) many people cannot tell the difference between real and fake news, this has a negative impact on the countries and the communities at large.

Statista, a database that records reports and data visualization for a variety of current news confirms informatiom from reliable sources in social and political research, has recorded top five fake stories from USA during the election time when the current US President Joel Biden contested against Donald Trump.

According to the University of Derby resesarch, almost 45% of adults in the UK believe they encounter fake news everyday and a lot of people are relying on social media updates.

In Zimbabwe it becomes a norm for institutions mainly political organisations and individuals to spread fake news on social media with the intentions best known to them, not considering the damages caused by such ingorance.

On the other hand, Zimbabweans do not want to listen to real news or bother to find out the authentic of the sources, but opt for what they want to hear not what is on the ground.

Upon realizing that, political organizations took advantage and capitalize on the ignorance for their own good as a result there is now a lot of misunderstanding on economic, political and social issues, there is also hatred amongst the citizens as they have joined the train fighting on the corner of their preferred political leaders not for the good of the nation.

When veteran journalist Geofrey Nyarota commented on the impact of fake news, he told NTU News Zimbabwe that on this issues he was speaking as a professional journalist seeking to protect the noble proffession. “Social media has rendered the profession of journalism difficult to perform because it is often a victim of deliberate misinformation Zanu-PF occasionally gets away with murder.

“A picture of two supermarket cart-loads of whisky and other liquor was posted on twitter by Nick Mangwana (Government spokesperson) it featured two men, apparently Glasgow residents, who were pushing the carts in preparation for a “Welcome to Glasgow” party for (president Mnangagwa) ED’s huge delegation. If the funds for the purchase of the liquor was supplied by Treasury in Harare nobody has furnished the details so far.

“But Treasury is now accused of blowing money on “foreign booze galore party travel”, whatever that means, when it can perhaps be easily proved that it is two overzealous Glasgow-based Zanu-PF supporters who sponsored the party.

“To some this is a minor issue but to serious journalists this is disinformation bordering on fake news.

“Last week one illustrious (Zimbabwean) journalist imported a graphic picture from Ghana, it featured a poor woman who delivered a baby by the roadside with the help of an apparently off-duty male nurse, portraying the scene as a Zimbabwean roadside and the journalist in question proceeded to launch a scathing attack on the collapse of the Zimbabwean health delivery system.

“The local system may indeed have collapsed, but to import images from distant lands to illustrate that point when there is an abundance of local examples is both disingenuous and professionally unethical,” explained Nyarota.

The effects of fake news are evident that they can be harmful to people’s health and it devides and creates enermity among the communities, nations as well as making it difficult for people to know the truth as a result people would be misled.

There was and is still misinformation on the global pandemic covid-19, the world is in panic mode and in Zimbabwe up to now people are confused not knowing whether to take vaccine or not while others are arguing if Chinese vaccines are safer than USA’s and vis-a-vis. As a result, many people made harmful decisions healthwise, as they nolonger follow what the World Health Organization (WHO) is advising but what their political parties are saying on different social network platforms including whatsApp and facebook, with the motive to discredit opponents of their political handlers.

The main political parties Zanu Pf and MDC Alliance are fighting in the corner of their masters China and USA respectively, the fight cascaded down to the ordinary citizens who have now as well taken the issue into their own hands and are using different social media platforms.

As I mentioned earlier on that Zimbabweans now believes the news that they want to hear in support of their preferred politicians, while political players use this chaotic scenario to further their political ambitions at the expense of the ordinary people.

It is defined that access to information is very important as it helps citizens to make informed social and political decisions in life wisely.

While Zimbabwe is polarized, fake news fuels citizens to leave the right things, the business community is in panic as well and there is now tension between the people of Zimbabwe and the govenment because people nolonger have confidence with their governing party and nolonger wanted to listen to it regardless of the news being good or bad for them.

People should not rely on social media but bank on reliable sources while the media should play it’s neutral role to inform the nation because ‘in the upsence of the truth, lies becomes the truth’ and journalists must not compromise their proffession for the sake of helping politicians to achieve their selfish ambitions.

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