Ibne Hussain

Journalism having undergone many changes over the last two decades has
entered the age of fake news. This age is going to last for quite some time
unless Internet users use judgment and think twice before forwarding every
post and comment. Fake journalists are killing reporting standards in
Pakistan.

Efforts should made by journalists to verify what comes online, though the
fake news industry is working overtime. Additionally sending out any news,
fact, or picture online is easy, verifying its authenticity takes time.

In Pakistan fake news is shared with impunity. The latest example is the
fake audio clip of screaming passengers on board PIA’s PK661 just before it
crashed near Abbottabad. Tweets of Jemima Goldsmith, ex-wife of Imran Khan,
was also shared in which she shared how she gave money to PTI chief for
buying his Banigala house. A list of top journalists who allegedly took
money from property tycoons, political parties etc. surfaced from time to
time on social media. When it is pointed out to the sender that they have
shared wrong information, the standard answer is “forwarded as received.”
Sometimes the sender knows the information is not reliable but still he
shares it with the message “forwarded as received.”

The name of late poet Ahmed Faraz is perhaps used with complete freedom in
poetry which is not his and is substandard. Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed
Faiz also and many other famous poets face similar treatment. Attributing
wrong quotes to people who have died years and centuries ago is also a
standard and normal practice on social media.

A renowned Pakistani journalist once told in his address at a seminar that
a producer of a popular infotainment show on a private TV channel once
admitted that at least 50 percent of their “show” was based on “fake
stories,” and the channel dramatized it in such a fashion that it looked.

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