- The spread of fake news has been identified as a threat to democracy
- Lawmakers in the US are pushing through laws to educate children to identify fake news
- Fake news has been attributed to the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election
Lawmakers in the United States of America are trying to get schools to focus more on teaching students to tell the difference between truth and fiction on the internet, a skill which is vital to a functioning democracy.
There are plans to introduce laws to get schools to develop a curriculum for "media literacy". This is taught in South African schools as visual literacy but the focus is more on adverts than news articles.
Briefly.co.za learned that in the States, both the Democrats and Republicans are pushing for the new laws but have received little attention. A number of states have adopted the new laws, such as Washington, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Mexico.
A number of other states are considering adopting the legislation such as Arizona, New York and Hawaii according to news24.com.
The spread of fake news has the potential to influence presidential campaigns and important democratic processes. The spread of fake news had heavily influenced the 2016 presidential elections in the US. Critics of the Brexit have also cited fake news as a major cause for the outcome of the referendum which decided that Britain should leave the European Union.
The planned lessons would teach children how to evaluate and analyse sources of information in civics, language and arts. The idea of the laws is to promote critical thinking aimed especially at current events.
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