Fake news, or the truth – who decides?

To the editor;

To the editor;

As they should all say ‘The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ but too many are spreading fake news and although this is not new news it is becoming common news.

The issue has been brought to prominence by President Trump who claims to be a victim of the fake news media. President Trump has for example labelled the New York Times as a purveyor of fake news although a quick google search on the topic lists it as being the most trusted newspaper in the World.

In response to the rise of fake news there are now a number of countries that are trying to ban ‘fake news’ and the list now includes Russia and Malaysia with Malaysia proposing six year jail sentences.

The concern is that in banning ‘fake news’, seemingly a positive outcome, who decides what is fake news?

A number of countries that do not value freedom of speech could easily label any opposition as ‘fake news’ and imprison journalists – not all would then be brave enough to stand up and write against this for fear of being the next imprisoned.

A surprising piece of fake news is that while Voltaire is said to have stated “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”, a statement defending the freedom of speech, it was actually written by the biographer Beatrice Evelyn Hall although under a pseudonym, S. G. Tallentyre – where will the fake news, half-truths and hidden back stories all stop?

Perhaps the need to tell the truth can be summed up in a quote from of all sources John McEnroe, “I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of person; I don’t like being misled or someone not telling the truth. That upsets me.”

Just tell the truth!

Regards,

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

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