We are passing through a very bad time. The things came to grinding halt in a jiffy. The scare is growing, the nightmares associated with this deadly virus are palpitating. In this fury, messages, rumours, half-truths and cunning lies spread faster than anything else. Repeated lies rather become confirmed truths. In between this, the closure gag, and virtual curfew shackles our common sense into confusion. Social media brings unfiltered information. Without any attribution things are set in line, as if information is imposed on receiver. It is assumed that, a reader believes half-truths and assigns his counter certification over the narrative.
Uncontrolled information has potential to spread mayhem, bring chaos and put people in confusion. People hoard essentials, beeline before grocery shops, and allow market to indulge in malpractices. When the advisory is to follow social distance, people bother more about petrol, and unnecessary things. We assume government to control the spread of disease, as if it is the personal affair of state. Without confirming the authenticity of any information, we believe it as a universal and acclaimed truth. We share it on various platforms, once it comes in public domain, it takes shape of ‘Bad money takes good money away’. A news loses its relevance, when it has parallel lies juxtapose to it. When no news is bad news, unconfirmed truths given hype take a reader’s relook. Though information is available easily, but the credibility with which information is shared is a matter of debate. Anything news like, demands attribution, source and reliability, but when Covid-19 like situation has arisen, there is time to quick fix the responsibility of those who disseminate unfiltered information. Misinformation spreads venom, confusion and chaos. The mayhem around us, is because of two things. One, the audience consuming credible information is little, and the group going through mis-information is huge.
It has become very difficult for our readers, to differentiate between good information and bad information. In times of crises, the management of crises itself becomes difficult. Those who are fighting Covid-19, have to fight misinformation and its subjects simultaneously. It should become our collective duty to not let the situation worsen. State may do its own job, people should realise their responsibilities as well. Information spread through pictures, and videos possesses more potential to moot any viewer. Rather than, spreading weird and uncouth things, those disseminating it should make sure that, anything shared in public domain should have reliability. It is our moral duty to act positively. We may pass the test of this time, but our resolve should be strong. We may refrain from spreading false information. State is not omnipresent to trace those who spread venom, people must join the cause.
(Shahid Andrabi is a random blogger and part time writer. He is a Pass out of Media Education research centre University of Kashmir. He hails from Lolab).
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