Fake news and truth in journalism dominated discussion on the ABC’s Q&A panel on Monday night.
The panel consisted of former director-general of Al Jazeera Network, Wadah Khanfar. The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja. Claire Wardle, the research director at First Draft, which targets fake news. Veteran journalist, editor and broadcaster, Mark Day. And Labor frontbencher Terri Butler along with the program’s host Tony Jones.
The debate was over fake news, the power of social media and the decline of mainstream media. The discussion started when audience member David Luschwitz asked the panel “How can we tell and know the news we read and distribute is in actual fact true?” Panellist Wadah Khanfar said “Social media is doing something, in my opinion, as a result for our failure. To a large extent, mainstream media, during the last at least two decades, is declining. The trust in mainstream media is declining, because I think we came very close to centres of powers, we are not putting the human being at the centre, we are not anymore the voice for the voiceless, we have lost courage.”
Fake news became a global subject and was widely introduced to billions as a subject mainly due to the 2016 US Presidential Elections. At a pre-inaugural press conference, US president Donald Trump had a dispute with CNN reporter Jim Acosta and told him “You are fake news”.
Panellist Terri Butler said “When people don’t trust media, they don’t trust anyone.”
Fake news is a concern as the public is being misinformed. Today’s news now comes in various forms. The public receives their news from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Confidence in mainstream has dropped and lost its credibility with social media as a powerful media.