Expose those who propagate fake news

Fake news thrives because many of us are deaf to the idea of evidence and facts ("Fake news and the attack on journalism"; Feb 13).

Evidently, it is difficult to contain the frenzy triggered by fake news once it has been set in motion. Common sense tells us that the only purpose of fake news is to mobilise the masses in the shortest possible time.

Arguably, the power of fake news is dependent on the intensity of its emotional and sentimental components - political, religious, linguistic and cultural ideology.

Fake-news mongers and fact-seekers have co-existed since the beginning of civilisation, and "fact" has been vibrant and effective in its argument for truth. But due to the exponential advancement in communication technology today, fake news has an edge over evidence and fact-based news in the short run.

It is rather unfortunate that the facts about fake news come to light only after the fake news has done its damage.

Indeed, "speed and disruption have more psychological impact than truth and science".

Around the world, there are fake news websites dedicated to manufacturing hoaxes, propaganda and disinformation.

For example, The Real Singapore site had, until it became defunct, attracted as many as 2.6 million visitors a month with its fabricated articles.

Evidence and facts make a lot of difference. It is heartening that Singaporeans are - by and large - reasonable people.

While I admire the professionalism and good efforts of the journalists in the local media, they have greater responsibility not only to ensure that fake news has no place in their publications but also to expose those who propagate fake news based on malicious lies and half-truths.

S. Ratnakumar