In the digital era, invasion of fake news and hoax are densely correlated with political interest which has caused uneasiness towards journalist scholars. At this time, the study of investigative journalism becomes suitable to be further discussed in order to asses the ability of the media to criticize in facing fake news and hoax which has spread widely in the media. Such circumstance has caused problem towards journalist activities in this Post-Truth era. Post-Truth era is a phase where the spread of news which seems true, yet it is actually not. In the year 2016, the term Post-Truth became the words of the year by Oxford Dictionary.
With regards to this, the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CESASS) Universitas Gadjah Mada conducted a workshop with the theme “How to Develop Investigative Journalism in the Post-Truth Era” with Prof. Dr. David Robie from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (9/11/2017). Prof. Robie is one of the visiting professors within the World Class professor (WCP) program by the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education. Acting as the moderator is Dr. Budi Irwanto from the Department of Communication, Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Gadjah Mada. The Workshop was held for around two hours and was attended by academics, students and journalists from Yogyakarta.
In the workshop, Prof. Robie that specializes in the field of communication and journalism explained that journalism is truly about providing information that strengthen society, represents ordinary people and ask questions that wants to be asked by ordinary people, despite the fact that the media can abuse its power for its business purposes. The current situation is exacerbated amidst the political competition that involves head of states taking the example of the fake news case of Donald Trump or the conflict between United Arab Emirates and Qatar which has confused the people with what is referred to as “fact” and “reality”.
Apart from that, what needs to be recognized is the presence of propaganda which could influence the people towards certain specific agenda. He also touched upon how technology could create manipulation which could deceive the people. Prof. Robie invites the participants to reflect on the role of investigative journalist to check the power and interest behind the news published to massive audience in the media. Journalists that work within the investigative field need to have alternative spaces to spread their news of their investigation. Prof. Robie elaborated the danger and enemy with people of power which comes along with writing an investigative news. Taking the example of the revelation of the Panama Papers conducted by journalists spreading within countries applying free tax.
Various responds were brought up by the participants regarding Prof. Robie’s presentation. One of the respondent, Bambang Muryanto from the Independent Journalist Alliance or Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), questioned how journalist can define truth/reality to then be spread amongst the society in this Post-Truth era. Towards the end of the discussion, Prof. Robie added that social media has put effort in encountering fake news and hoax, however this is still at a minimum. Therefore, in order to face such situation, he advised the necessity of the society in being active and critical to filter the information that has spread both in the mainstream media and social media. (Meike/Dipka)