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PM:Bahamians being ‘assaulted by fake news’

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday that Bahamians are being “assaulted by fake news” that is being spread by people with no journalistic training.

Minnis, who was on Grand Bahama for the launch of ZNS TV’s second phase high definition platform, told a crowd of government officials, ZNS Northern Bahamas employees and others, that “misinformation and outright falsehoods” are prevalent in the public domain.

He told ZNS’ reporters that “it is essential that the broadcaster provide accurate and timely news”.

“Bahamian journalism should retain the best practices of the profession,” he said.

He added, “These days, the Bahamian people, like others around the world, are being assaulted and misled by fake news being disseminated at lightning speeds on social media.

“They are also being misled by some who have no, absolutely no – with a capital ‘N’ – journalistic training and who are quite often ill-informed or ignorant of the issues on which they presume to shape public opinion.”

While Minnis did not speak specifically to the platform on which the “falsehoods” are spread, many have called for a closer look of the way information is circulated on social media.

In 2018, Centreville MP Reece Chipman called for a select committee of Parliament to probe “online falsehoods” or “fake news”.

“Disseminating of the deliberate falsehoods, particularly if it is done covertly, attacks the very heart of democracy by preventing constructive discourse,” he said at the time.

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