Qatar has been a victim of fake news planned and executed by some neighbouring countries, which is considered as unethical in journalism, according to foreign journalists who participated in a recent conference organised by the National Human Rights Committee.
The journalist told that spreading fake news for selfish gains is unethical. Chief Executive Officer of African Media Initiative in United States Eric Chinje, called it unfair for the countries to publish fake news to show Qatar in bad light.
He explained that people spread fake news for either personal, national, regional or global interest and added that many people don’t have the means to verify. He informed that there are some organisations that specialise in fact-checking.
“There is an organisation called ‘Africa Check’, which goes beyond the news to attest the veracity of what is said,” he said.
Chinje said such organisations are important and are required in this region as well because people currently tend to distort facts.
“You cannot really stop people from doing that because they are doing it for personal, regional, national or global interest. But, they should also know that when it is found out that they publish or spread fake news intentionally, a stern action should be taken against them,” he said.
Guwani Tuwani, a journalist from South Africa, strongly said that it was wrong to fabricate news to make Qatar look bad.
“There are ways to verify information and a journalist should verify the facts before publishing. For a journalist, verification of information is a cardinal requirement. We only have Al Jazeera standing out among many media outlets which are not delivering real news and when we have conflicts like in Syria, Al Jazeera fills that vacuum of telling stories as they are,” he said.
Tuwani believes that Al Jazeera is filling the gap and has always confronted fake news in the world.
It was recently revealed by the US intelligence agencies that UAE was behind the hacking of Qatar News Agency, which led to the Gulf crisis.