Fake news is our greatest enemy

first_imgDear Editor,Shortly after the 2016 US Presidential elections I wrote about “startling rise in the unscrupulous manipulation of people’s emotions by very savvy media operators”. In 2017, fake news was named phrase of the year, since then we have seen reports of the extent to which social media users were manipulated via the ‘Russian Collusion’ investigation. Fast forward to Guyana 2019 and “fake news” poses more grave a threat to our democracy than “rounded up half men”.If for example you believe that 26 members of the National Assembly currently hold dual citizenship, you are a victim of fake news, the true number is 7; if you shared news that our President had lost his voice due to cancer of the throat, you too were a victim. Fake news is now being used in an attempt to influence the People’s Progressive Party’s choice of Presidential candidate; an online poll purporting to offer choices for candidate was examined by an IT expert and found to have set percentages built into the software. The orchestrated attack on the academic credentials of former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali began with innocuous questions about his BSc, MSc and PhD certification. Ali responded by releasing an abundance of academic certifications and pledged to release his transcripts upon receipt but the fake news mill has grist and will continue to grind regardless of evidence.Irfan Ali’s stellar performance as Minister of Housing, his delivery of countless massive housing schemes and his guidance which saw over 10,000 housing units being constructed by developers, home owners and Government, is not the subject of discussion. Fake news aims to distract and divert conversations about issues that really matter. Discuss and compare Irfan Ali’s record with the less than 3 houses in 3.5 years of the APNU+AFC Administration! The fake news machine sought to build a straw man and bludgeon him; fortunately a Saints boy is never without a solid defence, in Irfan Ali’s case, the solid house walls that house thousands, all of whom benefited from his astute management of the Ministry of Housing.In the silly season of Elections, much more fake news will be generated, media operators will seek to create divisions within parties, society and even families. The racist fringe elements will try to tell you this election is about ‘race’, I urge all Guyanese to examine the records and issues facing our nation, separate fact from fake news, make an effort to examine the source of your news. A trusted source is our only defence against the enemies of our nation both outside and within. A reminder from Matthew 12:22 “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand”.Respectfully,Robin Singhlast_img read more