Post Mortem

we live in dire times: facts become fakes and news become dubious

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/10/2020 1:14:23 PM IST

 We live in lockdowns and yet to taste full freedom of movement. Physical distancing and wearing face masks have become new normal. Some of these and host of others have put us under severe strain and stress both physically and mentally. It is not going to end soon and experts say would take some more time and is going to intensify with series of waves.  COVID-19 has changed our life style and is changing our routine rhythm of life style dramatically that includes eating, dressing, working and host of others. It has altered our life-styles as well.

Nightmares would go on and on for some more time; seem to be endless in a fragile world. Coronavirus has truncated our visions and frameworks at alarming levels. Everyone seems to be rattled and living in anxious moments, not knowing what would happen to them. These are rough times and we hardly know what exactly is happening around us.  However, we need to know what’s happening. Obviously we depend on the print and visual media. Both the visual and print media provide us the information, data, analysis and of interpretation to the happenings.

In addition to these we have social media that functions 24/7 with such speed taking the news to several millions of its viewers located across the world. Information is important. And so information technology is playing the key role as transmitting information. A question that arises now is: Does the media provide the right information?  In a world engulfed with coronavirus, all kinds of news and theories we have been receiving but a question that arises is: which one to accept and which one to reject because news are concocted and packaged so beautifully for consumption without any suspicion.

The origin of COVID-19 up till now no one knows, but a number of theories continue to float such as from a laboratory in Wuhan, a wet market, through Pangolin (a type of lizard), a bat or from Russia or Europe and many others.  And then for the cure of COVID-19 a number of drugs have been prescribed and developed with some ridiculous solutions by a few spiritual gurus. Political leaders such as the President of the United States of America categorically keep saying weird things to fight COVID-19 that claimed 130,000 lives and infected millions thus far.

Some political leaders to expand their legitimacy and advancement of power base show to their citizens and the world a rosy picture of their countries by underreporting total numbers of deaths and infected. Data and facts have been twisted and fabricated without proper testing Schemes and programs announced, moneys sanctioned for the migrant workers, poor and the laboring classes are yet to reach many. Stranded workers and their families are panicked and perplexed as the governments at the centre and states failed to translate promised train and bus facility.

Fake news and false narratives are not recent inventions or phenomenon. It has been there and now it is on the upward trend. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has furthered it as people do not have access and skills to verify and check the information available. During catastrophic times it is easier for the leaders to manipulate people. Citizens to a large extent can easily be fooled and deceived, because governments of the day are in absolute control of everything. 

We live in a world of fake news. News that we get from social media, TV channels and in print media by and large tend to be dubious. There are some who take advantage of the situation spreading all kinds of news that we are into. Fake news and conspiracy theories spread faster than coronavirus such as Hitler escaped to Argentina, NASA faked the moon landings, British intelligence agents killed Princess Dianna, 9/11 was an inside job—conspiracy theories and dubious news surfaces periodically. Leaders have no scruples and believe in floating fake news.

For instance, coalition headed by former President of the United States of America George H.W. Bush along with Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of United Kingdom blatantly lied to the world that former Iraq President Saddam Husain was having weapons of mass destruction and went out destroying his regime and caused all kinds of damages. In recent times we have been reading and listening to a number of fake news and false narratives than before due to COVID-19. Coronavirus has generated tens and hundreds of dubious news and fake numbers. 

The virus has gone beyond the understanding of many. Since people by and large are ignorant of it and so there are leaders who make use of the situation to their advantage. 

They offer all kinds of answers that are absurd. For example, Trump came out with bizarre responses regarding face masks, social distancing, developing virus, prescribing all sorts of drugs and so on. Like him there are many who keep saying many things deflecting their failures. Nonetheless, we may not believe news that goes around, but corroborate with the news that gives us a sense of agency. 

It is again one’s state of mind that needs analytical skills and rational inquiry. People in dire times get angry and disturbed because of various factors and so we need to re-construct the news, narratives and messages all the time. People in large number dying and get infected. As we are surrounded with such news it is obvious that our attitudes, language, mannerism and behavior tend to change rapidly in times like this. The situation we are pushed into warrants us to behave in superfluous ways that contrasts and contradicts our usual way of living.   

We are being made to believe in the fake news and the news that we receive and transmitted by and large are dubious. Since the scenario is so dreadful and worrisome people at large resorts to news that offers hope and consolation without knowing the consequential effects. However, we should not succumb to those and by all means they ought to be contested and confronted. Only truth alone shall triumph. Providing true news extends clear analysis and decision-making process. And so whatever may be the situation we should strive to speak and work for the truth.

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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