A few weeks ago I have written an article about a news in one of the leading Malayalam newspapers - Matrubhumi (read my article here - Hannan : An enquiry into the Truth!) .
The news was about a prodigy girl, who is appreciated by many well known scientists and graduated from NASA by the age of 14. However as I suggested in my previous article, the news was a scandal and a few days back Matrubhumi apologised that the news had some mistakes.
[photo extract from Matrubhumi Daily : 5th October 2009]
Another Malayalam Daily Janbhoomi, had the courage to delve into the inner details of the news and they have reported that the news is fake (read the story here).
However, the topic is a dead end now - many of the people still believe that the news is fake. But my question is that How a 14 year old girl can create such a big scandal to gain publicity ? and Why our media is so ignorant that they think that the readers can be fooled easily ? and What can be done to avoid such things from repeating ?
Well, my point is the news was not just the creation of a 14 year old school girl - it is intentionally created by someone clever (or clever fraud ?), so that they can get some sponsors for this girl - an easy way to make money, huh! - . And our media doesn't care what they publish. A little knowledge about science & some multimedia skills to create some fake certificates can help you achieve fame and money in a few days - that's what our media assures now.
The other question is - Why our media think that we can be fooled easily ?. The answer is they don't care about anyone, they no longer work for truth or justice, all they care is the circulation and the profit.
So what can be done ? I have a few suggestions, even though we have media watchdogs like The Hoot, they are not so effective. What we need is a crowd sourced Open Media Watchdog where people can discuss, criticise and rethink news published in all newspapers. The second thing is we need to investigate on such fraud news and find out who really works behind these news and sue them and punish them appropriately - so that these kind of incidents won't repeat. And we need to be aware that even the best news papers cannot be trusted (the same news appeared in most of the major newspapers including Indian Express - click to read).
And finally we need to train our Journalist to validate the news they get from various sources, to do that they need to be trained in using technologies like Internet and other communication facilities (A single phone call to the APJ's office might have prevented this catastrophic news, sadly that didn't happen in this case). Even setting up an in-house news validation group will certainly help our media increase reliability and quality.
Let us hope for a better future. Don't forget to write your comments and suggestions..