Fake news and education

November 28, 2019


I WAS surprised when I received a message on the messenger from one of my friends, who did not want to be named. He was nervous about the fake news in newspapers in his country: the Philippines. I think it is different from that in my own country, Indonesia. Almost all of the fake news were predominantly disseminated by the social media and websites. They used their pseudo names, during the presidential campaign.

In that case, I gave an opinion using education as the panacea. I once wrote an article about fake news, in Indonesia Post, in Indonesia, on 27/05/2017. It was during the presidential campaign with two candidates: the incumbent: President Jokowi and the opponent candidate: Prabowo Subianto. In that article, provided it with a panacea: Making the people literate. I believed that there are three possibilities for the people towards the fake news.

The first possibility, I believe that the news may not be taken seriously. They don’t care or even they don’t read it. The second possibility, fake news can be very viral: rolling and bulldozing then framing an opinion. The readers can be, in a bigger number, following it and get trapped, thinking it as the real news. But, the third possibility is that some might respond to the news, but they analyze it profoundly. This is very special for the people with highly educated. Therefore, the response to the fake news depends on the ability to read individually.

Reading skill has a level. The first level is Reading the lines, which is reading what the written sentences are. The ability to read only on reading the lines will be bad if the readers’ educational, social, and cultural backgrounds are very low. Finally, it ignites the emotion and blazing.

The second reading ability is reading between the lines. A clever reader can judge the language of writing in the text not only what is written in each sentence. They are well literate. They can interpret words, sentences in a more complete context in a paragraph and even a whole text. For the readers of this ability class, they will produce a better analysis than the first-level readers. I believe they may not get irritated, but they may also be still in doubt: depending on how fanatical they are with their presidential campaign.

The third, the readers who have the ability to read beyond the lines. This type of readers, not only literally understand the meanings of each word and sentence. They can precisely read beyond the lines. They are able to analyze the text being read with various references they have read: Global Knowledge Of course, they are not trapped. They will inform others to disseminate another good news or information: telling the public that the news is fake.

So, it is only education to tackle the fake news in any country. The technology era has multi-consequences. As Alvin Toffler predicted in 1970— Future Shock—that there would be disintegration, shocks, discrepancies, chaos, and the like during the 21st century. And, today it appears to be the truth of that prediction. It is only education that can be the panacea: making the people literate.

Dr. Djuwari is the director of language laboratory at STIE Perbanas Surabaya, the editor of some research journals in the Philippines and Indonesia. He is also a journalist in some newspapers in Indonesia; the president of international association of scholarly publishers, editors, and reviewers (IASPER).




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