OpisMEDIJavanje: Integrity, not clicks

Rapid dissemination of information, but also disinformation, the requirement to cover a wide range of topics, and political influence on the work of the media are some of the journalistic challenges in the age of digital technology, Zana Cimili warned. The responsibility for preventing false news, however, also lies on the readers, she said.

In the latest episode of the media literacy campaign “OpisMEDIJavanje,” N1 correspondent from Pristina, Zana Cimili, spoke about the future of journalism in the digital world.

As technology developed, the dissemination of information also accelerated, at the same time, the space for the rapid dissemination of disinformation was created, and thus the responsibility for verifying information is even more pronounced.

„It is very important to verify the source of information. This is what makes a journalist or a media outlet more professional. Often, online media publish a sensational headline just for the sake of clicks, while the news content is completely different. So, it is a fight for clicks,“ warned Cimili.

According to her, another challenge of modern journalism is “the pressure on journalists to cover as many topics as possible.”

„This increases the chance of making mistakes because journalists under pressure cannot devote themselves to research, or mistakes are made when they are forced to report on topics they are not that familiar with.“

There is also political influence on the media, which is especially prominent in societies ruled by a fragile democracy, but it does not bypass those countries that see themselves as the cradle of democracy, such as the United States.

„In countries, such as those in the Western Balkans, where democracy is fragile, the media often become a tool for certain interest groups, so that is one of the biggest problems. Let’s say that there are certain media in Kosovo that have preserved their integrity in spite of everything, but most of them tend to support one or another political party,“ she said.

In such circumstances, it is crucial to prove to the citizens that you are working in their interest, she pointed out.

Journalists must prove to citizens that they are working solely in their interest. When citizens understand this and gain trust in journalists and trust is formed only when the citizens realize that only thanks to the media they are aware of their rights, corrupt scandals, abuses and shortcomings of the system, and that the media do not abuse their position to spread misinformation or political propaganda

Cimili argued that older generations are more susceptible to false news, adding that younger generations are more familiar with this phenomenon and check what they read easier and faster. She also sent a warning message to the readers:

“It is very important for those who get information through social networks, to know how to distinguish fake news and to choose more carefully what they want to read.“

Social networks are not only dangerous due to the easy dissemination of disinformation, but they also pose a danger to the journalists themselves, she added.

„Social networks also increase the possibility of attacks on journalists, because the public can easily establish contact with a journalist,“ said Cimili, who herself was the target of threats through social networks.

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