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Algeria’s democratic gains must be protected from fake news

These are critical times and divisions in society are being stoked for political gain and power.

The news media in Algeria is waking up to the dangers of fake news and misinformation. Social media has become a fertile ground for false information peddled by various people and organisations. This could lead to trouble in society. People need to be made aware and various news organisations are coming together in the country to take stock and plan on ways to combat the menace together.

These are critical times and divisions in society are being stoked for political gain and power. The National Council of Algerian Journalists has been speaking to various stakeholders to maintain harmony in society. How do you make social networks credible? Do we police the net and the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

There is indeed a credibility crisis with the advent of social media and we cannot leave it to companies to patrol forums and make choices for the common public.

Awareness is vital in these times and Algerians must realise that misuse of online platforms could damage their democratic ideals

Civil order has to be maintained and the Algerian journalists council even held a forum on the impact of these forums and how governments and societies can face challenges. Social media delivers news, in fact, it has become the best source of news for the general public.

This is a sensitive period for Algeria. Enemies of the country are sowing discord to attack the institutions of the country and the National People’s Army, the protector of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country. The army supported, without hesitation the people’s choice for a democratic, free and transparent presidential election.

Social media moulds public opinion in different areas of life in the country. To keep pace with the changes happening in the world, I believe Algerians should learn new technologies, practice high values and be vigilant in dealing with fake news.

Awareness is vital in these times and Algerians must realise that misuse of online platforms could damage their democratic ideals.

The writer is a journalist based in Algiers

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