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Journalism, 'Fake News' & Disinformation: Book Review
The handbook "Journalism, 'Fake News' & Disinformation" has been brought out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a part of their contribution to journalism education and training courses in the year 2018 which is also available on UNESCO Open Access Repository.

The publishers inform that the handbook has been produced in the context of growing international concern about a 'disinformation war' in which journalism and journalists are becoming prime targets.

The publishers while saying that the ideas and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and  they are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization; they have  been presented in the training handbook in seven modules edited by  Cherilyn Ireton and Julie Posetti for discussion and knowledge construction .

The modules meant for professional  education and training of new age journalists have been authored in research report modes with footnotes by  Julie Posetti, Cherilyn Ireton, Claire Wardle, Hossein Derakhshan, Alice Matthews, Magda Abu-Fadil, Tom Trewinnard, Fergus Bell, Alexios Mantzarlis  along with additional Research by Tom Law for Graphic design and  Clinton for Cover design and illustrations.

The handbook has the heavy and analytical style of presentation meant for professional reading and its seven modules have the following titles: Truth, trust and journalism: why it matters; Thinking about 'information disorder': formats of misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information; News industry transformation: digital technology, social platforms and the spread of misinformation and disinformation; Combating disinformation and misinformation through Media and Information Literacy; Fact-checking ;  and Combating online abuse: when journalists and their sources are targeted .

Being a handbook for education purposes in modular format, each module has been structured with heading such as Synopsis; Outline; Module Aims; Learning Outcomes; Suggested Assignment  and further Reading, etc.                                                                                                                                                               

In the foreword, it has been clarified that purpose of the publication is to work as a 'reminder that all news institutions, and journalists whatever their political leanings, should avoid inadvertently and uncritically spreading disinformation and misinformation'.

In the introduction of the handbook, it has been suggested the handbook is meant to update journalism method and practice to deal with the challenges of misinformation and disinformation. It informs that 'Fake News' these days is 'so much more than a label for false and misleading information, disguised and disseminated as news.'

The introductory also warns that term 'fake news' has 'become an emotional, weaponised term used to undermine and discredit journalism.' The handbook suggests that the terms misinformation, disinformation and 'information disorder' as suggested by Wardle and Derakhshan should be preferred.

Owing to the pedagogical approach format of use of the handbook, it needs to be first transacted in the courses on journalism for addressing the challenges of disinformation and misinformation by underlining the issue of how the 'information disorder' affects democracies and open societies.  It a book useful for training, reference and research purposes and needs to part of the library resources in institutions running courses in journalism and mass communication.

Here, I would like to quote scribe Amit Ray, "In this era of fake news and paid news, artificial intelligence is more and more used as a political tool to manipulate and dictate common people through big data, biometric data, AI analyses, online profiles and behaviors in social media and smart phones. But the days are not far when AI will also control the politicians and the media too." Of course, if we are not careful!

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