We are drowning in fake news!
This is an ode to the media… as it is supposed to be: credible, balanced and objective! Although the media in Zambia have always struggled with these concepts, the standards have definitely deteriorated lately. The problem is the occurrence of “fake news”, a concept we can thank Donald Trump for coining (it is always nice to be able to thank him for something!), which the media in Zambia seems to be embracing with vigour. Several stories raised the alarm flags this week alone:
Whether or not Zambia is borrowing from Russia as an IMF deal fails to materialise.
Whether or not Lusaka Police Chief Nelson Phiri told the Daily Nation that Interpol was looking for former Post proprietor Fred M’membe.
Whether or not the police have banned indecent clothes.
Stories like these are one of the reasons Zambia Weekly exists, as we try to make sense of them on your behalf. However, to know that we are being lied to is not necessarily the same as knowing the truth. When so much doubt is cast on what we read in the media – the so-called fourth estate – it becomes obsolete. Distrust in the mainstream media, accompanied by the rise in social media, makes it easy to distort reality. When the media cannot be trusted, criticism loses its bite, in effect giving politicians a way of avoiding accountability.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly