Just How Much Can You Trust What You Read In The Media?

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From protests to mass media, our volunteers gathered once again to discuss the role of mass media in our respective societies. Questions were raised but ultimately, it came down to “Just how much can you trust the media?”. At which point do you decide what is real and what isn’t?

Where do you get your news from? The newspaper? Watching the news on television? How many sources do you turn to before making an informed decision about what to believe and what not to? We talked about the different forms of media and it’s no surprise that there are more news outlets now than ever before. The advent of social media has allowed us to access news, anywhere, anytime, anyplace. But let’s save that for that later shall we.

If we just take a look at traditional forms of media like the newspaper and the broadcasted news on television, we would perhaps see repeated information. Say if we take just newspapers and break it down even further, you have publications from different companies. Back in Singapore we have newspapers in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. In English alone, we have about 3 to 4 different publications. Each of them publishing similar news articles but with different amounts of focus. For instance, an article in one publication could take up half a page and take up a tiny column on the bottom left hand corner of another publication. Is it safe to say that the different publications push for different objectives or ideas? More so when the publications are run by different companies. Do they reveal all the information to their readers?

With the advent of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, accessing information is made easier. In fact, unlike the traditional forms of media, you can now provide feedback or share your thoughts on the news articles. You also get to read what others have to say. Perhaps with the variety of opinions, you would be able to make an informed decision on what you would want to believe in. For instance, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 vanished into thin air, many came forward speculating the reason behind its disappearance or even how it disappeared. Some were outright ridiculous while others could still be ruled as a possibility. One will never know now would we? Till today, we’re not particularly sure of what happened but I remember all those around me searching for information on the internet, devouring every news article that appeared on the news or the internet. It was a race to find out more information. Again, what is the truth and what is simply speculation? Are your sources reliable or are they an opinion?

 Read widely, ask questions and more importantly, be objective. Don’t immediately assume that whatever you read online is true or whatever you see in the news is all there is to a particular matter. Perhaps one even has to question who reveals the information you read. Are they reliable? If so, do they reveal the whole truth? If not, who else can you turn to for more information? Sometimes if you dig a little deeper, it will reveal the truth.

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