Information has become one of the important needs in people's lives in the era of digital technology these days. It can be said that information cannot be separated from people's daily lives. Nowadays, people get information easily, both through conventional media such as radio, television or newspapers and social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or WhatsApp.
At present, the amount of information circulating in the community is massive and instant. It’s hard to imagine how many thousands, even millions of information items circulating in the public throughout the world in just seconds.
The development of information technology which is so fast and extensive was previously predicted by Marshal McLuhan, a Canadian communication scientist. In his book entitled ‘Understanding Media: Extension of a Man’ in 1964, McLuhan delivered the concept of the Global Village that illustrates the development of communication technology. In this concept, McLuhan predicted that one day, information would be very open and accessible to everyone.
According to McLuhan, in the era of Global Village, there would be no longer any clear time or place limits. Information could move from one place to another in a very short time through internet technology. In his predictions, McLuhan said that in due time, humans would be very dependent on technology, especially communication and information technology. That fact is proven today.
As an illustration, in early 2020, the world community was shocked by the spread of a deadly new type of corona virus. Various information is received by the public, both from conventional media and social media. As it turns out, much of this information is hoax and misleading news. The question, especially for Indonesia, is how is the role of the national press in counteracting hoax information circulating in the community?
Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), Puan Maharani on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 2020 National Press Day (HPN) in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan on Saturday (8/2) said that the national press was the frontline in fighting hoaxes. The press has the function of providing information, education, entertainment, and being a social control. Compared to social media which prioritizes speed and controversy, conventional media or mainstream media must be more reliable because it holds the principle of checks and balances on information before being reported to the public. Thus, information conveyed by conventional media is far more trustworthy than social media.
The national press must be able to provide accurate information to the public. It is also expected to be able to straighten out incorrect information in the community.
It is time for the public to choose the information that is currently circulating. It is like two sides of a coin; information technology has both positive and negative sides. On the positive side, information can quickly disseminate without space and time. On the negative side, the information that is circulating in the community may not have been verified.
Happy National Press Day!