How Has the ‘Fake News’ Bug Affected Mauritius?

One of the most notable benefits of the internet has been to open up communication among people of the world in a way never before imagined. However, from the same source of significant advantages, has stemmed one of the most worrying communication problems; misinformation.

The internet is a hard news platform to control, mainly because most people using it to communicate, are of unknown physical addresses. Also, the new model of journalism has brought into the picture people who are trained in communication. The result has been a drop in censorship, a breach of ethics and the spread of false information, which has been christened ‘Fake News’ by American president Donald Trump.

So, has this bug bitten the Mauritian news industry?

The answer is yes, and in a big way. There have been serious incidents of the same on many occasions in 2018. Some people accuse the government of sending out fake information to paint a surreal picture of development; others point at some media houses and bemoan plots to assassinate the character of some prominent figures.

In April 2018, a tweet posted on the Mauritian president’s account drew widespread cries of intent to deceive. Communication experts swung in with evidence, that the tweet, which shared a link to an alleged development meeting, was untrue, and meant to deceive. The tweet remained on the timeline for a few days before it was deleted.

Shortly after the resignation of Prime Minister Mr Showkutally Soodhun, many stories ran, about his closet filled with skeletons. Some outlets, however, came out in support of the former premier and trashed most of the articles as fake.

Like most countries across the world, Mauritius is struggling with the headache of dealing with misinformation. Legislation to curb the same has been less than adequate, at least so far. Can a cure be found shortly?