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PERIL OF FAKE NEWS AND MONGERING: RELIGIOUS’ VIEW

By Maisuna,M.Yahya

The Founder Al-Mustofiyyah Society of Nigeria

 

Fake and rumour are both nouns and verbs, each having dual grammatical function roles to play.

Fake has other connotations or words that mean same as: false, fraudulent, trick, swindle, deceive, dribble, cheat, pose, adulterate: while rumour means: misinformation, gossip, hearsay etc. On the other hand, a monger is one who relates, transmits or peddles something undesirable to others for a specific objective to be achieved by an itinerant or a monger. According to Ogbette et’l (2), information fabricated without a source or element of originality. Another writer refers fake news as junk news, or hoaxed news (Bartolotta 2016).

Who are these mongers? Of course, they are human beings! Among them are Christians and Muslims whose religions have divinely revealed Books that orchestrate what good ethics should be and sanction bad or negative ones. One is then tempted to ask what could be the causes why people fake news and circulate rumours. Many answers come to mind as they are explicitly explained below. Some of the causes are as follows:

Commotion: Some people are of the habit of creating unrest, instability and fuelling of perhaps an existing crisis in order to disintegrate the relationship between and among people; while the rumour monger or fake news derives joy and pleasure from what the results are likely to be! This sometimes degenerates from nagging to tension and pandemonium.

On the other hand, some rumour mongers engage in the business because they intend to gain relevance within the circle they wish to; by force intrusion. This is a common practice among politicians all over the world.

Money is a strong cause or reason behind faking news or rumouring. It will be wrong and criminally incriminating to say that all media personnel and houses engage in this scourge, but certainly, there are few black sheep in the mist of white. Disgrace is always longing for prominent members of every society, says an adage.

 

Most often, some political big shots are threaten of fabrication and fake news, which eventually fetches huge amount of  money for the perpetrators, and all of a sudden, the idea is tactically dropped. Reverse is most likely the case for any prominent person who refuses to comply; so easily his fame is robbed into the mud and crying over spilt milk becomes a fruitless exercise.

Lauren Creek more states that fake news and biased reports from liberal and conservative media have many American struggling on how to discern the truth. Furthermore, Lauren added: In today’s media, there are a lot of opinions broadcast to the world. God does not evaluate people by the way they look or how they talk.

Just as God cannot be swayed by appearance those who watch or read the news should be focused on the substance of what the news reports. Supporting Lauren’s argument is the Biblical quotation that reads: These are the things that you shall do: speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace (Zechariah 8:16).If the Bible commands this, what excuse has any believing Christian or journalist has to sway or dissuade from telling the truth Why then engage in fabricated misinformation.

Uncontrollably, this millipede has really crawled and clenched its fists into different facets of human endeavours: In politics for example, according to Ogbette et’al (2-3) reiterates that it was rumoured in the news that Clinton in a poor health, due to a serious disease has declined….when Clinton never said such. Not quite too long ago, news was faked against former president Good Luck that he has deserted PDP. In debunking that, Point Blank News of 18 March, 2019 via the ex-president’s media adviser Mr. Ikechukwu Eze describes the news as fake and as such, it was a calculated attempt to rubbish the elder statesman.

Nigeria president, Muhammadu Buhari was rumoured to have died while he was on medical leave in 2017. For almost three months, adding to that rumour was that he was also cloned, on arrival to Nigeria. At a BBC’s news, Abuja, as reported by Ishaq Khalid, the president debunked the faked news. On education, social media seems to be the shortest cut to disseminating fake news.

Joint Matriculation Examination Board (JAMB) suffers this menace a lot sometimes back, fake news almost jeopardised its efforts. Kunle Adebayo reports such fake news: Parents whose wards or relatives applied for admission into any of the Nigerian universities are requested to tell them to up load their O’Level/WAEC results to JAMB as quickly as possible…else their admission will not work. What an ungodly sinful blasphemous act?!

Economically, fake news circulates like wild fire as it mixes up with fraudulent intents. The author of this piece, on the 14th of April, around 5.50 pm received a text that reads: “COVID#19, The Federal Government has directed ICT to credit your account with the sum of #30,000 Due to #COVID19# Out break dial 07024490—. & provide acct info.”

Sources of Rumour and Fake News: There are various ways the evil is perpetrated. Traditionally and locally, from one person to another, rumours are related though without verification and confirmation. On internet, a lot of chaff is posted without citing any authority. Worse power house of fake news remains the social media: Twitter, instagram, face book, whatsApp, G-mail, LinkedIn and Messenger.

Every profession requires competency in its professionalism without breaking bounds. Some of the National dailies are guilty of the fake news disseminated around the globe. Sometimes, exaggerated head lines are used just to attract customers apart from diluted and mutilated contents. An international daily once had a caption: Hilary Clinton and her campaign chairman (John Podesta) was the ring a leader of a Pedophilia….This was debunked by the New York Times.

Ways to avoid Fake News and rumour. Islam makes provision for every eventuality and establishes ways and means of avoiding maladjusted ethics so as to avoid the wrath of Allah. When fake news and rumours are brought to a believing one, it becomes an incumbent duty on the recipient of the rumour to verify, investigate and make sincere enquiries to know the truest of the news. Having done that, sieving the chaff from the grains will now reveals the naked truth which must be applauded. Therefore, re post not any information or message, unless the source is certified.  The Glorious Qur’an explicates

O you who believe! If an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what have done (Q49:6)

It is a civic responsibility of every Muslim to discern evil deeds and avoid being a party to carrying out such act. Why claim to be a good Muslims, if you are still one of those who send or re-send unfiltered information that could make the entire nation catch fire? As it is, every report made, presented, either orally or in a written form, should be scrutinised so as not to cause infliction on innocent people of which regret mat set in.

Reporting such suspicious fake news to the appropriate authorities will help in a long way to curbing the practice in the society. Also, refusal to send, resend or forward such a message will reduce its ability to go viral. The Prophet of Islam (SAW) was quoted saying: The best of news is the one witnessed by an eye witness. Disseminators of fake news should be nabbed and prosecuted.

Negative Effects of Fake News and Rumour mongering. The effects have really affected socio-cultural development as some tribes have faced each other trading the words of mouth on social media. A clear example remains the rift between Igbo and Yoruba tribes; Igbo referred to Yoruba as a coward race, while Yoruba retaliated by making reference to Ojukwu as a segregator. Nigerians should go off such war of mouth trading, rather we should be united, focused, loving, and truthful and bury the hatchet of rift in the past.

The language or tribe we belong does not matter, what matters most is being human, after death, in the grave specifically, no language or tribe counts, as everyone is going to be questionable, punishable or reward able. Most valuable in the sight of Allah is he who fears Him and do righteousness to other fellow beings. The Qur’an states:

O you men! Surely We  have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and family that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. (Q49:13).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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