Thursday, 16 August 2018

Fake News A Variant Of Propaganda - Zimbabwe News!

The recent Zimbabwe elections firmly demonstrated the incursion and perhaps even gradual institutionalization of fake news as an actor in modern politics, particularly during elections.


Though the term fake news is now so liberally used to the extent it eludes.

Precisely fake news can be defined as the deliberate dissemination of false information expressly intended to misinform.

The presidential election, which pitted the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa against opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, was fiercely fought on many fronts.

One of the unprecedented fronts was the use of social media by supporters from both camps.

However, according to Zimbabwe Democracy Institute Principal researcher, Bekezela Gumbo fake news is a variant of propaganda.

“The phenomenon of fake news is not new it is only the term that is new, it used to be propaganda. It is a variant of propaganda that both Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance are using even before the court case has conclude” said Gumbo
Fake News A Variant Of Propaganda - Zimbabwe News!
On the effects that it has on citizens Gumbo said it sways and divides opinion.

“Propaganda or fake news sways and divides opinion of the masses. It tarnishes public image of the MDC-Alliance to benefit Zanu PF whilst the same happens with the Alliance” he said

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp circulated news stories most of which were unsubstantiated.

The post election period saw election results claiming a win for the opposition in various constituencies however as official results started to trickle it turned out results on social media sites were fake.

Numerous fake news stories were widely circulated on social media as unsubstantiated allegations were posted against both Zanu PF and the MDC -Alliance.

The proliferation of fake news in Zimbabwe can be explained on two grounds. The first relates to the history of the country’s media, and the second to the increasing importance of online platforms in shaping the news.

This legacy has turned the traditional media into a bystander in the political processes.The circulation of fake news also seems to have benefited from the changing profile of the Zimbabwean voter.

Most of registered voters in the just ended elections are aged between 18 and 35.

Social media enthusiasts have been instrumental in shaping opinion without taking into account the effects some which may fan embers of political violence and hatred.




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