Kuwait continues to fall victim to the circulation of Fake News. The alarming increase in fake news, at a sensitive time in the region, prompted none other than the government spokesman Tareq Al Mezrem to ask citizens and residents to rely only on official sources for their information diet.
Since social media has become popular fake news has become rampant. Kuwait has been a victim of this menace, which has done more harm than good in many instances. People are more ready to believe in fake news or myths than news through reliable or official sources.
Why is it that perfectly knowledgeable people believe in Whatsapp forwards from their friends or connections, who have nothing to do with media, and who do not engage in any fact-checking before instantly forwarding it?. Instant messaging has become the prime mover of news and this problem exists all over the globe.
Governments are just beginning to understand and deal with fake news. The quantum of harm is sometimes immeasurable, hopefully, with the right legislation, there might be a solution in Kuwait, in the near future.
But unlike fake news, the government has been more forthcoming in clamping down on ‘fake employment’. Recently the government revealed that several companies had been referred to the Public Prosecution for manipulating the National Labor Support scheme of the government by faking the employment of citizens.
“Fake Employment” is when citizens get paid but do not have to report to work. This is how citizens take advantage of a loophole where the government’s good intentions of ensuring employment for citizens is misused.
In addition to initiating legal processes against the companies involved, the Public Authority for Manpower is also understood to have begun measures to recover the monthly financial support that these citizens received under false pretext.
Yet another problem that the country faces is Fake Goods. The Ministry of Commerce in a major clampdown last week raided and closed several shops for selling fake goods. The ministry’s inspection teams undertook a major drive to eliminate fake or counterfeit goods and have given merchants a three-week notice to remove all fake goods to avoid legal violation and confiscation of goods.
Kuwaitis and expatriates are all victims of fake stuff. Many expatriates are more prone and vulnerable to this fake news penetration because many a time the news is not even denied and only after great harm has already been done.
So why then does the government not clampdown or initiate legal action against perpetrators of fake news who are operating without proper licensing or authorization from the government. Dissemination of news should not be through anonymous sources, where the victim has no right to any redressal. The gathering and publishing of news is a serious business, and it comes with great responsibility.
– An Expatriate
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