Information hygiene: television, radio, print media

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With the development of information technology, there is a need to follow rules that would help filter information. Information hygiene is the filtering of the information received, which helps to avoid clogging your head with fakes, to resist fraud and hostile propaganda.

In the 21st century, in an era of technology that is not used for the benefit of all, information hygiene has become not only a necessary element of human safety and health, but also a call to prudence and responsibility for one’s choices.

The purpose of information hygiene is to prevent negative
the impact of information on mental, physical and social well-being
human, social groups, population as a whole, prevention
information-related diseases of the population. The first rule of information hygiene is to check the sources of information. Information flows with a predominance of negativity lead to increased anxiety, and when there is too much anxiety, the body is exhausted. Panic attacks, arrhythmias, and psychosomatic illnesses may occur.

People’s lack of information immunity is a complex problem. According to research, 61% of citizens publish materials from dumpster sites on social media. According to expert Oksana Moroz, only 3% of Ukrainians can identify and distinguish between true and fake news.

Among the sources of information, Ukrainians trust television (60.5%), social media (almost 54% of respondents), and the Internet excluding social media (almost 49%) the most. The level of trust in radio (34%) and print media (23%) is slightly lower. About 5% of respondents do not trust any of the sources of information.

Since the start of the large-scale aggression, Telegram has become the leading source of information for Ukrainians, followed by YouTube, where the anonymity of content authors and responsibility for information is minimal.

Basic rules of information hygiene

1.Always check the source of information.

2. Check the expertise.

3. Do not draw conclusions based on headlines. According to statistics, 96% of people evaluate news only by headlines, which may contain information that contradicts the main purpose of the story or distorts it altogether.

4. Exclude emotions. If the news is followed by fear, panic, or indignation, you should check this information with other sources. There is no need to rush to share this news.

5. Find out who owns the media outlet. When you receive any information, try to understand who is behind it, what interests they pursue, and how this information can affect your future.

6. Explore different perspectives on the same problem. If the information seems significant, look at several interpretations of it. Preferably in sources with different editorial policies. Such information verification is a guarantee of personal information security.

7. Narrow your newsfeed to a few trusted sources.

8. Create your own “media white list”. If you come across a story that contains the headline “Sensation! Shock! Forward to someone!” or any other expressed emotions, check whether this information is available on the resources from the “White List”.

Only media that adhere to basic journalistic standards should be included in the “white list”.

Journalistic standards

There are generally accepted rules (standards) in journalism that determine whether a given media outlet is trustworthy and objective:

1. Balance of opinions, points of view – providing different points of view on the event. A journalist is an impartial person who should present different points of view on a situation and be objective.

3. Reliability – every fact must be verified, and sources of information must be reliable and truthful. Sometimes the disclosure of facts can be anonymous if it may endanger the life, health or professional activity of a person.

4. Completeness – the finished material should answer the question: what happened? Where did it happen? When did it happen? For further analysis, why did this happen and what will it lead to?

5. Accuracy – information should only be truthful. Particular attention should be paid to the names of characters, proper names, and numbers.

6. Separation of facts from comments – comments should not indicate the journalist’s favoritism to any of the parties to the situation.

Criteria for choosing a good expert

Olena Shkarpova, VoxCheck project manager, recommends paying attention to the following criteria when verifying experts who can be trusted:

1. Summary: education and career

Look for the expert’s resume online, as researchers often make it freely available or publish it on their own websites. Also, google what the expert did before, how long he has been working in his field, to get an idea of how long the expert has been “in the business.”

You can also ask about the expert’s education. Although nowadays it is not necessary to have a specialized education to understand something. If an expert has a specialized education, this is an obvious advantage in favor of his or her professionalism.

2. Place of work of the expert

It is always worth asking about the expert’s place of work. Even if a research center is listed on its Facebook page, this does not mean that such an institution really exists. Or that someone other than the expert himself works in this think tank.

Also, any think tank creates analytical reports and issues comments. It is beneficial for the organization to post some of them online, for public access. This is how it confirms its authority.

3. Owners of research organizations

As with the media, transparency of ownership and financing is very important. Good think tanks always indicate where they received funding from and publish annual reports on their website. This is what VoxUkraine, CASE Ukraine, and others do.

4. Scientific research or articles

Real experts often work in research centers, have academic degrees, and write research papers. And if an expert is cited in Western scientific papers or his or her work is published in major scientific journals, these papers can be found on the Google Scholar website. There you can see the number of citations and publications of the author.

5. The range of expert topics

The better the expert, the narrower the range of topics he or she comments on. After all, it sometimes takes years to understand one topic. Experts who value their reputation always refuse to comment on a topic they don’t know or know superficially.

6. Rhetoric and categorization

Good experts always draw conclusions carefully, try to present all possible points of view and take into account all possible factors. Experts work with even more complex data than journalists. Therefore, they often need to analyze data to draw a conclusion. The reality of experts is very complex and multifactorial. Most likely, they will name many different factors that influenced a particular indicator or phenomenon. But they will definitely not say something simple and categorical. Because a good expert is careful in his conclusions and does not say what he cannot show with data or facts. He realizes that he is responsible for his words, because they can affect the lives of many people.

7. Crosscheck – it is always worth checking the expert’s past forecasts or studies for their veracity and conclusions.

Ways and methods of manipulation in TV shows

Television shows, and especially debates, contain a huge amount of manipulation, both at the level of moderation and in the selection of guests. Borys Bakhteev points out several main features of manipulation on talk shows, which are modeled after Shuster’s:

1. The selection of politicians to discuss a particular topic is often biased. Supporters of a particular position may outnumber their opponents. Opponents of the “desired” position are often selected so that they are either dogmatic radicals who speak only in slogans or impulsive and emotional individuals.

2. 2. The same politicians on the air. For the most part, the same politicians appear on talk shows, and almost without exception, either current or former. The “merit” of such talk shows is the conservation of the political elite, the shutting down of social elevators in the political environment, which is entirely in line with the interests of the oligarchs.

3. 3. Doubtful experts. The same experts on many different shows, resulting in a very small number of “selected” experts, which is very similar to artificial popularization. Almost complete absence of narrow specialists among the experts. Those who would not only evaluate and comment, but also provide factual references – experts in state or constitutional law, international law, world economics, etc.

In addition, the disparate position of politicians and experts is noticeable. Experts are given a very short time limit for their statements, in fact, the time limit for a single remark. Mostly, experts are asked to ask questions and sometimes comment, but in the time allotted to them, they are unable to analyze long monologues of politicians in detail and in substance.

4. Unequal attitude of the hosts to different participants. They allow some to violate the rules, some not, some to insult their opponents, some not, some are cut off, some not, no matter what the guest says, some are caught in outright lies, some are not. In a word, favoritism.

5. The rudeness of the participants, and they are the regulars on almost all talk shows. It seems that this is exactly why they are invited – to “revive” the discussion and increase views.

6. Voting by the audience in the hall. They are not sociological and are ruled by a method of manipulation. The veracity of their results cannot be verified. In the voting of TV viewers in support of politicians-speakers, there are no evaluation criteria: some vote for their favorite politician, some for the content of the speech, some for “artistry” and “strength,” i.e., the ability to silence opponents. And all these motives for voting are simply added arithmetically.

In his article “Political Talk Shows. Manipulations in the Swamp” notes, “Talk shows have ceased to be evidence of democracy, even if it is spontaneous, and have finally turned into a tool of manipulation and ordinary political advertising.”

Author: Valerii Maidaniuk, Ph. flight. Sciences, Foundation for the Promotion of Democracy

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