Mahlobo’s social media aims 'not good' - analyst

2017-03-07 19:12

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Johannesburg – State Security Minister David Mahlobo’s intentions to regulate social media are “not good”, political analyst Ralph Mathekga said on Tuesday.

It was “rubbish” to regulate the media in order to filter out fake news, he said at a discussion on fake news at the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, in Johannesburg.

 “I think he is concerned about access to information in rural areas. He is concerned about the stories that make into mainstream media, like the City Press, being read by people in rural areas,” Mathekga said.

“His intentions are not good in any way.”

Mathekga said he trusted that his media colleagues would be able to distinguish between real and fake news, which is the deliberate dissemination of misinformation.

He said the biggest challenge to journalists was to ensure that conventional news reached people in rural areas, so they could make informed decisions. A large number of people still did not understand how corruption affected them daily.

“There is also this narrative that exists in the outskirts of South Africa, that the state is not a personal entity and you can steal from it, it is okay, and you can still build a political career out of stealing from the state.”

Mathekga said fake news was part of the intelligence machinery, espionage, and counter-espionage.

“My fear is that those who are trying to regulate fake news, they are not targeting fake news. Their target is to make sure that the information does not filter through to people in rural areas,” he said.

Huffington Post’s news editor Deshnee Subramany said the online publication had been a victim of fake news.

“We woke up to an onslaught on Twitter and we had to deal with it very quickly. We were lucky because we had an audience that reported it,” she said.

Eyewitness News editor-in-chief Katy Katopodis said fake news was used to distract the media and the public from real issues.

“It is because you don’t like the news that you call it fake news?” she asked.

Director in the Press Council, Joe Thloloe, agreed with Katopodis.

“Ultimately its intention is to discredit journalism, that’s all,” he said.

Read more on:    david mahlobo  |  fake news  |  media  |  social media
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