Journalism Educators, Regulatory Realities, and Pedagogical Predicaments of the “Fake News” Era: A Comparative Perspective on the Middle East and Africa

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 2019, 74 (2), pp. 143 - 157
Issue Date:
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© AEJMC 2019. From diplomatic spats between Qatar and Saudi Arabia to ubiquitous deceptive “news” updates purportedly sent by the Eritrean government urging all men to marry two wives or risk imprisonment, the future of fact-based reporting appears uncertain as mass media recipients world over become accustomed to consuming “fake news.” Despite the exponential expansion of journalism educators in the Middle East and Africa, several curriculums in these regions have been struggling to cope with the rising dominance of the “fake news” movement. Both regions have a well-documented appetite for conspiracy theories and indeed the power of disinformation and propaganda, which seem to have gathered steam in the wake of deliberate dissemination of hoaxes or sensationalist stories predominantly distributed via social media platforms, potentially posing a threat to the credibility of journalism. This article provides an updated state of affairs on the expansion of “fake news” in the Middle East and Africa arguing after an explorative examination of 10 journalism curriculums that educators need to focus on local contexts when preparing journalism modules. Although it is important to discuss global trends, developments, controversies, debates, and discussions involving the “fake news” movement, we think future journalists from both regions would benefit from media literacy courses that identify the difference between fact and fiction in relation to their own contexts. This is relevant because current pedagogical approaches appear influenced by developments abroad especially in these countries’ past colonial masters.
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