Advocates of free media say independent news outlets could play a role in rehabilitating the region’s media. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The term "fake news" was named the Collins Dictionary Word of the Year in 2017, with a 365 percent rise in usage compared to the year before. But despite increasing attention to the phenomenon, many working in Lebanese media consider fake news a symptom of deep-rooted problems that have existed in the region for decades.Since then, the public's access to information has increased drastically, much of it disseminated via social media, which has made it possible to report in ways that weren't possible when Samaha first began working in the field.She said she still believes the old methods are the best way to gather information as a journalist. Samaha has frequently reported from regime-controlled areas – itself a potentially problematic undertaking given question marks over journalists' freedom to operate unsupervised by the state – and says that social media offered a window into perspectives that were out of reach.However, the surge in information available via social media is a double-edged sword for reporters.According to Mhanna, this is not a new phenomenon.
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