THIS is European Media Literacy Week with Media Literacy Ireland (MLI) launching its ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign. The Southern Star, as a member of Local Ireland, which represents regional weekly publishers, is part of the MLI network and this week’s campaign has been designed to help people identify sources of information that may be unreliable, as well as deliberately false or misleading.
We have heard the reputations of so many trustworthy media organisations besmirched by ignorant taunts of ‘fake news’ by the likes of US President Donald J Trump simply because the facts presented by reputable publications or broadcasters don’t fit his limited perception of things or make him look bad.
The Southern Star prides itself on being a trusted source of news, views and information for West Cork and the wider world across all its media platforms, and disseminating fake news is not in our DNA, yet sometimes – like other media outlets – we have to endure tiresome taunts from anonymous keyboard warriors who seem to have nothing good to say about anyone or anything. Thankfully, the majority of reasonably-minded people trust the mainstream media, but that trust should never be taken for granted, which is why we are backing initiatives such as Media Literacy Week and urging people to check out the website www.bemediasmart.ie to remind them that journalism matters now more than ever.
Just because information goes viral or is trending, doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Disinformation can be designed to provoke a strong emotional reaction and prompt instant sharing or ‘liking’ in a moment of outrage, excitement, disbelief, etc.
Stop, think about and check what you are seeing and reading.