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• donderdag 24 juni 2021 02:01

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Blog Alex Rosaria | The poison of fake news

By Alex David Rosaria

Alex Rosaria Blog | A serie of blogs by politician Alex David Rosaria

You’ll never understand the pain of being at the opposite end of fake news until you are the one feeling it. Too many people have personally suffered or had their lives shattered by fake news.

Few months before the election in 2016 a local morning paper quoted me in a made-up story saying that my opponent won thanks to corruption. Since the election was months away this was a deliberate lie. When I confronted the newspaper I was told, “it’s normal for writers to be creative when trying to make a point. No biggie”. Not only was I severely criticized, but my opponents greedily used this item during the campaign.

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Fake news is not new. Pheme, the Greek Goddess of false news, was described as having multiple tongues and destabilizing those seduced by her trumpet thousands of years ago (see photo). I get that exaggeration and errors are inevitable in journalism, but fake news is something else -and much more dangerous: it is the spread of deliberate misinformation or fabricated stories with the intent to gain financially, politically or in popularity.

The bigger danger of fake news is when people act on misinformation. Hannah Arendt, in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” asserted, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi [..], but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction no longer exists.” Fake news has pointed out a major flaw of our democracy: it is unsuccessful in guaranteeing good governments since it is subject to the irrationality which fake news today exploits. I have argued before that the time has come to evaluate our Western-style democracy which has not been reviewed since it inspired the French Revolution in the 18th century. Paradoxically the internet’s democratization of news outlets has proven a danger to democracy. People don’t really believe what they’re reading in the mainstream media, so they’re even more prone to want to believe other things that people are spreading.

Fake news is like poison that is injected in small doses. It undermines the very fundamentals of a democratic society. So how do we stop it? A handful of countries are in the process of preparing legalization to curb this. One difficulty they face is to come up with a consistent definition of fake news. The second important difficulty is deciding who is going to implement such laws. Governments? Mainstream media? Why trust them if they themselves are sometimes part of the fake news problem? A more viable alternative seems to be independent fact-checking organisations to fight the problem. But maybe the most durable solution is to educate people how to pick up and understand what is fake.

I do not have a silver bullet. I do not think anyone does. What I do suggest is for us to have a national conversation on this matter. Sooner rather than later. Our peace of mind and democracy depend on it.

Alex David Rosaria (50) is from Curaçao and has a MBA from the University of Iowa. He is a former Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and UN Implementation Officer in Africa and Central America.

Bron: Blogs ALex David Rosaria

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3 reacties

  1. Lack of credible information leaves people uninformed which is exploited by fake news pushers. First, in order to combat ‘fake news’, you must have some level of credibility (standing). I doubt that Alex understands the latter. Alex, what goes around comes around. A national dialogue on the topic is not necessary. I understand that the media have become a nuisance to you, but, as a liberal, to even suggest censorship… Sad, to see to what level you have ‘fallen’.
    For your information, since the recognition that the Russians, through the use of echo chambers, interfered in the US presidential elections, a lot of effort is put Into making sure this will not reoccur. Blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrencies, has the required built-in robustness and can be applied also in fighting fake news. Not a lot of bla bla. Just effective straightforward solution.

  2. @Henk. Helemaal mee eens. Rosaria mester sera su koi kome. Ik heb nooit op hem gestemd, dus als stemmer hoef ik niet teleurgesteld te zijn. Feit is dat Rosaria, met al zijn mooie en wijze woorden, geen enkele bijdrage heeft geleverd aan de gemeenschap en medeverantwoordelijk is voor alle huidige problemen op gebied van onderwijs, economie en justitie. The man is a loser.

  3. Ik wordt moe van juffrouw Alexandra Rosaria, op wie ik tot mijn grote spijt ooit gestemd heb.

    Terwijl zijn vrouw Elvira, waarnemend hoofd MOT, met toenmalig hoofd Veiligheidsdienst Michel Romer lag te wippen deed slapzak Rosaria niets toen Fraudelyne Wiels het Curacaohuis leegroofde, doodsbang om PS voor het hoofd te stoten en de coalitie (lees: zijn zetel) in gevaar te brengen.

    De kiezers rekenden daarna keihard met hem af. Het betekende ook het einde van Michel Romer bij de Veiligheidsdienst. Alleen Elvira Statie zit nog bij het MOT, waardoor veel bedrijven geen MOT meldingen meer durven te doen.

    Want tussen de lakens zal zij Schotte marionet Romer ongetwijfeld hebben medegedeeld waar de MOT meldingen van zijn baas vandaan kwamen.

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