The emergence of social media platforms has created opportunities for anyone to become a reporter. For many, the traditional role of journalists has come to an end. However, I have begun to realize that despite changes in the media landscape, journalists around the world have an important job to do, perhaps even more so than in the past.
My new realization comes after I participated in the Study of the United States Institutes for Scholars (SUSI) program at the Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
During the five-week journalism study, research and discussions with U.S. journalists and politicians at one of the most outstanding U.S. universities, I discovered that although people have the opportunity to express their opinions freely thanks to the emergence of social media platforms, this does not automatically imply that this is the golden age of global democracy.
The truth is that democracy is now under pressure due to the uncontrolled flow of misinformation and disinformation. As a result, people are unable to always access dependable and reliable information and are therefore unable to participate in democracy development in line with their constitution.
Deep-seated fake news, for example, on some irresponsible social media platforms is now misleading some U.S. citizens, which undermines the basic right of the U.S. people to vote freely.
What impressed me the most during the SUSI program is that while the constitutions of many nations guarantee freedom of expression and the press, whether or not statements are true, the survival of democracy probably lies in the hands of journalists whose ethical values demand that they report the news based on facts and in ways that are unbiased and balanced.
On top of that, media literacy is viewed as one of the key initiatives to fight against fake news. This means that when people are highly educated, they are more likely to think critically, question what they read, and be able to detect what is real or fake news.
In addition, multiple avenues of research are being carried out to find a new journalism business model. This is due to the fact that traditional forms of media are struggling to survive financially as their revenue from advertisements and subscriptions dwindles
In conclusion, despite changes in the media landscape and the fact that people are able to state their views freely on social media, some of the information posted on these platforms is deliberately false.
As a result, democracy is now under threat. The hope of enriching democracy now lies in the hands of responsible journalists who are determined to report events impartially. Importantly, media literacy is one of the keys to helping societies suppress fake news.