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From Editor's Desk


in Vol. 20 - March Issue - Year 2019
Can you trust what you read?



Andrzej Wojtas

It’s easy to tell the difference between a real news story and a made-up one, right? Maybe not.

In the past, watching the news on TV; reading a newspaper and listening to the radio were the only ways to stay up-to-date with what was going on in the world – and we would always rely on these sources telling the truth about events. Now, through social media, we receive news at the tips of our fingers often in ‘real time’, but we cannot always rely on this news being as truthful.
Good Newspapers and Broadcasters have staff who check the facts in their news stories. They try to contact different independent sources to double-check if the information given is right or not. But anyone can write news articles and share them on social media - this has led to the phenomenon called ‘fake news’. Some types of fake news can look real and this can make us think they’re true. In some cases, people can take a popular newspaper logo and place it on a fake news story to make it look genuine. Most of the time, fake news stories have a mix of truth and lies to make the whole story seem more believable.
When thinking about whether a story is fake news or not, it might be worth asking yourself a few questions: Have I seen this story anywhere else on the TV, in a newspaper or radio? Is the source an organization I recognize? Unfortunately the fake does not only relate to ‘news’ only, but to information in general. How to know the information is right?

MFN itself also has to deal with that problem on many occasions. We have had articles with photos submitted to us, where companies claimed they did build a certain machine, only to find out that they had just exchanged the machine logo in Photoshop. Sometimes, text was written in such a way that we had strong doubts that those projects and customers really existed and we did not publish it. And in many cases, we have been proven right. Since this phenomenon of receiving false news is not going to disappear, readers as well as publishers need to learn how to deal with this new situation. It is important not to give up, and always try to make good judgements!



Andrzej Wojtas (Ph.D.), Chief Editor of MFN, E-mail: andrzej@mfn.li
 
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