When I was a college student in the early 1990s, the daily bus ride was fun and oftentimes a curious event. Among the regular beggars, singers and pickpockets encountered in the buses and bus terminals were the hawkers for newspapers, cheap magazines, and booklets. They would mix the names and surnames of the people in petty news and try to create the name of a leader or a celebrity. Then they would shout about the fabricated event. If they shouted 'Bhattarai is dead’, people would buy their stuff and would end up realizing that someone called Bhattarai had died in a hospital or a road accident. They mixed common events such as death, marriage, divorce, and illness with the names of the bigwig to create a sensation. But the prospective reader first thought about some big personality and bought the item. By the time they realized, the hawker would have exited the bus and the bus itself would be 3-4 stations down the route. An example of classic, non-digital, pre-internet, pre-social media fake news.
KATHMANDU, April 19: A video of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli talking about the coronavirus has gone viral on social media platforms. During a video conference meeting held last week with the chief ministers of seven provinces, PM Oli is seen explaining the nature of coronavirus, its treatment and transmission methods.
KATHMANDU, March 31: At a time when the market is rife with fake news and rumors about COVID-19, the government on Monday said that those creating and circulating misinformation will face legal action as per the existing law.
As coronavirus is spreading across the world, with rising number of infections and fatalities in European countries as well, and as it is wrecking havoc on global economy, it has posed challenges on several fronts—economy, public health and even livelihood. A new form of challenge has also emerged: That of myths and misinformation on how people contract COVID-19 and what they should do to avoid it. People have created such myths out of fear and panic. Such myths are good only so long as they encourage people to adopt preventive measures but can also drive the people to take measures that could potentially harm their own health. One such myth circulating in social media recently is about cow urine. Recently, an Indian lawmaker reportedly recommended that people should consume cow urine and dung to avoid infection. In Nepal too, including in Kathmandu Valley, such myths are making rounds.
JOHANNESBURG – According to fact-checkers at the Washington Post, US President Donald Trump has made more than 13,000 false or misleading claims since his inauguration. It is no wonder some people doubt that the fact-checking of politicians’ claims is an answer to the problems of this misinformation age.
Anyone critically following views and opinions peddled by media in Nepal, including social media and major news media, must have sensed this. The information landscape is flooded with half-information and misinformation. Emotion prevails. Reason has taken the backstage. It is easy during such times to lose foresight and context. The costs of decisions made during periods of half-information can be very high and irrevocable.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seems bent on misinforming people to hide inefficiency of his administration which is already failing to live up to its promise on development, prosperity, transparency, rule of law and good governance.
Facebook has identified and banned hundreds of accounts, groups and pages engaged in misleading political behavior, a far larger discovery than a “sophisticated” effort it reported three weeks ago with great fanfare.