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Fake news saga

Aug 12,2017 - Last updated at Aug 12,2017

The term "fake news" has recently become a household phrase after US President Donald Trump repeatedly used it to describe any story or news item that he disliked or denied. 

President Trump referred to all allegations of collusion with Moscow, in general, and Russian President Vladamir Putin to influence the last US presidential elections in his favour, in particular, as fake news. 

Trump also used the term to describe charges levelled against his son-in-law Jared Kushner as having conducted some wheeling and dealing with Russian ambassador in Washington, at the time Sergey Kislyak, to promote his chances of winning the election. 

Trump has also described all recent reports about his low approval rating as fake in order to dispel the notion that his standing is losing ground and could be on a downward spiral. 

So what is fake news anyway? According to online sources, fake news is defined as a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate disinformation or misinformation that aims to influence public opinion on an important subject in one way or another.  

While conceding that fake news are dangerous and should be deemed illegal bordering on criminality, a person in high office likewise cannot and must not describe every unfavourable reporting about him or his declared policies as fake news in a desperate attempt to dispel the notion that his standing or popularity among voters is eroding or that his policies are unacceptable or opposed by the rank and file American people.

If there is substance in any news report that appears reasonably credible, its description as fake news must, therefore, also be deemed objectionable and bordering on criminality, as well. 

Therefore, there is a need to regulate the dissemination of news reports by whatever means including social media in order to combat fake news as well as its dismissal in an arbitrary manner. 

 

Most nations have legislation against defamation or libel but not many, as far as one can see, have ever contemplated regulating fake news or the arbitrary description of any news as fake for political gain.  President Trump brought this issue to the fore and the international community needs to react to it in a holistic manner. 

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