New study reveals pervasive impact of media misinformation


Published: 2024-02-28 11:48

Last Updated: 2024-05-25 07:52

In Jordan specifically, the issue of global misinformation has become a significant concern
In Jordan specifically, the issue of global misinformation has become a significant concern

The Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists recently released a study titled “Misinformation: The Manufacturing of Forgeries and Lies in Media and Social Media Platforms,” which delves into the realm of media misinformation. The study aims to investigate its adverse impacts on peace and societal security, politically, economically, and socially.

To provide comprehensive insights, the study focused on four Arab countries as case studies: Morocco and Tunisia representing North Africa, and Lebanon and Jordan representing the Middle East.

Through extensive surveys, it identified a notable similarity in the data across these nations, often described as "media chaos." This chaos has proliferated due to the widespread accessibility of the internet, the prevalence of smartphones, and the ever-present use of social media platforms, facilitating what is termed as “citizen journalism.”

Social media platforms play a pivotal role in the dissemination of media misinformation. Politicians, journalists, media financiers, and citizens themselves have been implicated in the creation and spread of fake news and misleading information, often to further their own agendas. This widespread dissemination has resulted in a state of media chaos and public opinion manipulation.

The study advocates for clear definitions of media misinformation, including sanctions and penalties, to be established by lawmakers. It emphasizes the necessity of tailored penalties based on the severity of harm caused to individuals and society.

Furthermore, it calls for a comprehensive review of cybercrime laws in the four countries, with a focus on preserving freedom of expression while addressing misinformation.

Recommendations include the establishment of monitoring centers for media and social media platforms staffed with professional journalists equipped with the necessary tools to verify information. It also suggests a review of information access laws to remove restrictions hindering the fight against media misinformation.

Additionally, the study proposes awareness programs on responsible social media usage, expanded media literacy education, and training sessions for journalists on verifying news.

In Jordan specifically, the issue of global misinformation has become a significant concern, leading to the establishment of the AKEED platform in 2014 for information verification.

Governmental authorities in Jordan perceive misinformation as a threat to distort official positions, with external entities often identified as the sources of rumors and misinformation. Hassan Abu Ruman, head of Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (AKEED), highlights social media platforms as major sources of fake news due to their widespread usage among Jordanians.

Despite the prevalence of social media, traditional media remains the most trusted source, particularly online newspapers. However, the proliferation of fake accounts on platforms like Facebook poses a significant challenge, with approximately 220,000 fake accounts reported in February 2023, possibly by external parties.

Abu Ruman notes a decrease in rumors in 2022, particularly in the economic sector, which may be linked to deepening economic crises. He underscores the importance of providing accurate and balanced information, adapting to evolving media landscapes, and closely monitoring media developments.

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