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Opinion: Anyone can make a ‘media bomb' today

Society 15.01.2020 | 12:09

MINSK,15 January (BelTA) – In the new realities, anyone can make a “media bomb”, Viktor Naumov, a senior research fellow at the information law and international information security office at the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, PhD in Law, Assistant Professor, said as he took part in another meeting of the Expert Community project “Deepfakes: New Challenge to Information Security” in the BelTA press center on 15 January.

Viktor Naumov noted that in the new realities, when social media have gained a lot of weight in the media landscape, any person becomes, in fact, a journalist, an editor, and soon a producer. “Technology is cheap and simple. But these people who are there for likes, have no ethics or the feeling of responsibility for the information they disseminate. In fact, we may face a situation when a 'media bomb' can be made ‘in the kitchen' so to say,” the expert said.

“To avoid serious consequences, we need to teach media ethics. This campaign should be rigorous, covering large swathes of population. We should educate people not so much in terms of what they can say or not on the internet but in terms of the responsibility for the words they want to say out loud,” Viktor Naumov noted.

The expert said that the current situation reminded him of the one at the dawn of the Internet when its users could say one thing in real life, and a different thing on the web. “It was normal, it was a kind of plaything. It is not anymore. It is a life,” the expert stressed. According to him, the gap in the ethics between classical media and citizen journalism is the most negative factor which will play a very serious role in the future if not dealt with now.

When speaking about the consequences of fake news, Viktor Naumov referred to one of the most well-known examples in history, when in 1938 an adaptation of Herbert Wells' novel that was notifying the U.S. citizens of a Martian invasion aired on the CBS radio station. As a result, panic swept across the country. He also offered to imagine the potential impact of someone announcing a huge sale online on behalf of a big-name retailer, which would encourage lots of people to hit the shops.

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