The impact of fake news on the media houses and the public in Uganda
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Traditional media consists of mostly professional people deciding what does and does not get printed and broadcasted. However, in this new era of internet and variety of social media, creation, and consumption of news and information in our society is changing. The rapid transformation of traditional print media into online portals has become a new trend and the online social media has democratized the means of news production and dissemination, but on the other hand, it has become a breeding ground for false and fake news, with the increasing use of mobile devices and easy access to Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks. In addition, the increase in fake news has been further exacerbated by social media networks including among others Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. This has resulted into the careless spread of fake news that damages reputation of the prominent people and media organizations. Therefore, to better understand this phenomenon in the Ugandan context the study aimed at measuring the level of trust towards the Ugandan news system and the consumers‟ news perception over the problem of “fake news” as well as the self-awareness of digital literacy skills. In addition, the study aimed at investigating the sources, causes of fake news and how it is spread as well as its impact on media houses and the public in Uganda. To investigate this problem, the researcher used questionnaires and an interview guide to analyze the current issues about fake news. The scope of the study involved 56 respondents of which 36 were males and 20 were females, aged below 25, between 25 -39, 39-46 and above 46 years. The study was conducted at Daily Monitor and in areas around Wandegeya, and Makerere University. The study findings indicate that the youth are more exposed to fake news and they classified some of the fake news published on the social media sites as follows; job openings that usually do not exist or are already out of deadline, health adverts that miss lead and cause complications, scam business enterprises that encourage investment and then fail to reach the promised goals and school admissions that come in terms of scholarships.