Has truth become irrelevant in Pakistani new media?

LAHORE -- Panellists dissected the new media and digital sources of information in the era of post-truth and the ways to deal with it in a session on the concluding day of the Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest at Alhamra on Sunday. The session, titled 'New Media: Democratization vs Disinformation,' was moderated by Raza Rumi.

Journalist Benazir Shah lamented the state of social media, which is flooded with disinformation.

'A joint investigation team was probing the attack on Imran Khan. There were stories about the three attackers involved in the case. We contacted all the members of the JIT, and they denied the reports, saying there was only one attacker according to their probe.'

Pointing out the trends, she said journalists were targeted on social media, and that's very dangerous. 'There are hashtags against journalists, and they also damage the credibility of journalists. There is another huge concern for the journalists across the world that is how you get the people to trust you again.'

Syed Muzammil Shah pointed out overproduction on social media. 'There is the dissemination of information at the mass level, and it has been happening since the times of the Romans. Marcus Aurelius also faced the issue of fake news and how to handle it.'

He said people with certain psychological traits were prone to buying such information, and they could not be saved from it as they wouldn't appreciate the truth. 'We are living in the state of utopias and ideal utopias.' He said celebrities-turned-politicians were on the rise in the world because of social media. For example, he said, Donald Trump was an entertainer due to the WWE and beauty pageants he organised and became the president (of the USA), and in ourcountry, an entertainer became the prime minister.

'Nawaz Sharif, Zardari Sahib and any other person don't have the personality to make the women start biting their nails. It's very serious because, in the future, any TikToker can become a PM.

'We think that the truth can replace that, but nobody cares for truth. In the post-truth society, truth becomes irrelevant. Truth doesn't kill disinformation or misinformation,' Mr Shah said while painting a dark picture of the state of affairs by saying that the state of Pakistan always promoted disinformation as 'the whole Pak Studies book is fake news.'

Mehmal Sarfraz, the co-founder of current.pk, says in the print media, there is at least a denial or correction of any wrong news, but on TV channels, there are...

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