Faizel Patel – 02/05/2021
As Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Dr Fowzia Siddiqui dispelled rumours of her death, which turned out to be fake news and widely circulated on social media and other platforms, questions and even concerns have been raised once again about the impulsive nature of people to share information without verifying whether it is factual or not.
The habit of sharing unverified information has become a perpetual and stubborn habit by wannabe journalists who seek the spotlight and synonymy of reporting breaking news first.
Journalists study and train for years equipping themselves with skills to verify facts before reporting on a story.
However, the advent of social media has spewed out a plethora of so called reporters who just amplify a post, story or an article without verifying.
Speaking on Sunday during the Weekend Wakeup programme on Radio Islam, Hafez Ebrahim Moosa says the sharing of unverified news has become a common occurrence.
“A person would typically send out a false news item and after a while when there’s repercussions to that, will forward the rebuttal to it in the same groups. So a person is sending out false new and true news and a person takes no responsibility and just hiding behind ‘as received’ messages, just hiding behind a mask and ‘I don’t know what’s the truth here, I’m just sending'”
During the discussion, Hafez Moosa played a lecture by Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera speaking about the harms and breaking the commands of Allah by sharing unverified news and information.
“Don’t just forward everything that comes by because there’s a very important hadith which says the Prophet (SAW) said that: ‘It is sufficient for a person to be considered a liar, that they just speak everything, they just say everything that they hear.’ That is essentially what you are doing. There are some people who just look at the title of a topic of a forward, of an article and they just forward it on. Almost like ‘I am the radio, I must tell you everything.'”
Hafez Moosa says the lack of accountability of people to take responsibility of sharing fake and unverified news is causing major problems and pain to communities and even families who are possibly experiencing a trauma, adding that it even tarnishes reputations of upstanding and renowned personalities in South Africa and across the globe.
Listen to the full discussion by Hafez Ebrahim Moosa, including the clip by Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera