The printed word, my profession for the last 58 years, has lost its credibility. No one believes in newspapers anymore.
The first informant to the people in general, in most cases, is not a newspaper but the electronic media. Of them TV has fallen to the lure of TRPs, which earn them the moolah. Television cannot survive today without creating exaggeration, sensationalism and hype . It may even make news instead of reporting it.,
That leaves digital news sources like Whats-App, Twitter, news sites and the Internet. For some time they seemed to be more authentic, reliable and faster than the Press.
Then people learnt to manipulate them. Posts like ‘Narendra Modi selected as world’s best Prime Minister by UN’ or :’Jana Gana Mana adjudged the best national anthem’ have been making the rounds for some time.
There were also other stories: Indian Army has been buying India-made shoes from Israel paying several hundred times more because of inordinate delays in settling bills, till Defence Minister Parrikar found out and solved the problem. A proposal to treat urea with neem to prevent it being sold to industries as raw material was not implemented till the NDA government took over. Foreign and Church organisations have bought majority stake in all the major media firms in the country and are so against NDA government.
How many of these stories are true is not known to those who read them on their mobiles or laptops. The Internet and YouTube too circulate many false stories.
Very few know that if you Google “hoax or fact websites” in 0.45 seconds, you get 7,37,000 search results with links -like http://www.hoaxbusters.org/ or ‘ www. snopes.com, Hoax Or Fact on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hoaxorfact/ and many more which have been “debunking hoaxes and urban legends since 1999”.
Internet may be full of lies, but we also have http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/top-10-sites-to-debunk-internet-hoaxes.
How do these rumours and hoaxed originate? That is another story. “No matter the actual facts, people will believe what they want to, and truth is irrelevant” one of the sites says.
Is ‘Satyameva Jayate‘ still relevant? Does truth prevail?