By Xavier Kataquapit
As an Indigenous person, world news has always been very confusing and overwhelming for me. The world has always been troubled and now everything is getting more confusing for all of us. It is difficult to figure out what is true or false in the news every day. The way we use social media on the Internet has complicated reality even more.
Right now there is news about a possible war between Russia and Ukraine that would be supported by its western allies, including Canada. In our current age of misinformation, its difficult to tell where truth ends and falsehoods begin. All we can understand is that all of the sabre rattling is adding to the possibility of war. The worry is in wondering what a war would look like for the world with major nuclear powers involved.
In other parts of the world, it has become a normal part of the news cycle that the Middle East is forever lost in war and conflict. We have become numb to the sad and tragic headlines of African nations. We ignore the inequalities taking place in Southeast Asia. No one bothers to listen to the political and economic troubles taking place in Central and South America.
Much of these conflicts, wars and tragedies stem from our human greed for natural resources, economic resources and human resources in the form of cheap labour and exploitation of developing nations. What is wrong with us as human beings? Wouldn’t you think at this point in our global civilization we would be at a more sane and secure world reality.
On top of all of this we are dealing with the historical global COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people have died as a result of this virus, millions more have been hospitalized and injured and our lives have been restricted and turned upside down. Most people realize it is a good idea to trust in the world’s scientists, epidemiologists and virologists who are promoting the use of vaccines to keep us from getting very sick or dying of COVID-19.
However, there are groups that are hesitant, spreading false information and conspiracies about this pandemic and vaccines and restrictions. Although these groups are small, they are very vocal. The recent demonstrations at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa provide us with examples of how groups can come together and be organized in a fashion that could be dangerous for our elected officials and our democracy.
How do we figure out for ourselves what is real and what is contrived and untrue?
We have to turn to trusted and established media for our information. National television news services like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CTV News and Global News are run by trained journalists and media professionals that are required by law to follow strict standards in reporting and journalism. They verify their sources and do their best to report the news in a fair and impartial manner. These networks do have content on social media so it is important to know for sure that any news you see actually comes from them directly.
It is dangerous to follow unknown and unnamed sources on any social media. Any unverified news story or headline you read on any social media feed that has unknown sources was likely assembled by an individual with little or no training in media or journalism at best and at worst by a malicious group that is actively spreading misinformation.
Internationally I trust my news consumption with other recognized public news services like Deutsche Welle (DW) English in Germany, France 24 English in France, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom, Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Australia and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States, as well as well established international news agencies like Associated Press and Reuters.
For Indigenous news I watch Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN) and read Wawatay News, the Nation, Windspeaker.com and The First Nations Drum.
As a democratic nation, the news we are exposed to should be readily available and easy for us to find. We shouldn’t have to work to search through truth, half truths, misinformation and lies. Governments must find a way to manage and regulate how news and information flows through the social media we all consume. Network television, cable networks, newspapers and news organizations are already heavily regulated to protect everyone from run away forms of misinformation. Why can’t we do the same for the social media feeds we all read and watch every day?
We have to always be careful with the information we see and read because it is the basis of our democratic society. If we are mindful of the sources we read and watch, we can find our way through the confusion.
Good news hunting to everyone.