Yellow Journalism : The “ Fake News” Of 21st Century

by Shatakshi Gupta
yellow journalism

Today this term Yellow Journalism may seem you all to be as something new but if you actually look back into its history then you will find that it dates its origin back somewhere around in the late nineteenth century. You may believe it or not but this yellow journalism is too rampant in the contemporary world to be more specific in this 21st century. Let us now try to about it in greater detail.

How it Originated?

Somewhere in the mid-1890s in the United States there raged a fierce battle between the two newspapers, where one was the New York World and the other one was the New York Journal. And there were the two very prominent personalities whom we may know are the ones who actually ran these two newspapers. Where the New York World was under Joseph Pulitzer; the New York Journal on the other side was under William Randolph.

Both of them were continuously in competition with each other and it was only that during their battle this term of yellow journalism came into its very existence. Basically, this term was literally made in reference to that yellow ink which was used by the front pages of these newspapers, this was all the part of their competitive tactics and strategies in order to grab greater attention of greater number of people towards their huge headlines as well as towards their huge photos for attracting their readers and also the passerby.

In the nineteenth-century these tactics were like the clickbait attracting masses and for gaining popularity.

Further, this battle lead to the printing of the very eye-catching headlines, and this on the other hand actually deteriorated as well as degraded the very quality of reporting, and it was then that they also started fabricating the stories that just resulted into misinformation and only brought in impulse gossips.

Relevance in 21st Century

Now when you have understood the very concept of yellow journalism then you can yourself relate it to the contemporary world. You can see that nowadays in order to gain more and more attention of the readers online, there lies a grave competition for readers there is only one difference in this case that now moving forward in this world we are not coming across that competition for the physical news papers but now it is only for the online news articles or other sources, and so this brings in that need, for the greater number of viewers to the site.

When you actually come across these sites then you find them filled with too heavy and outlandish headlines which always seem you eye-catching, bold images, or other short video clips as well, to which when you actually see you are not able to have that resistance in you from clicking on them. Then when you visit these sites you see that these articles or all these contents turn just turn out to be as fake news.

The quality, as well as the very essence of journalism, is now just losing all the importance of pure writing. As journalism has now started being based more upon the monetary values so it becomes more or less the very reason for its quality degradation.

Now it is becoming to be more like a competition between these amateur bloggers, and the other large media corporations, as now creating your own site or writing your own blog is not at all a difficult task so there are a number of people who just keep creating their own unique sites every other day.

As now we are moving more and more towards digitalization, this is becoming the original reason behind this thriving yellow journalism or rather in simple words thriving fake news today in 21st century.

Implications Of Fake News In India

In India, we are now witnessing the highest number of such fake news articles through various social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and so on. The reason behind this is mainly due to the largest number of social media users that can only be seen in India at present. The fake stories hate speeches, as well as the rumors, have been found to be connected to a considerably higher number of incidents taking place across India like lynching, mob attacks, propaganda, and communal as well as political unrest, can also be harmful to business entities and so on.

fake news

That incident of Rainpada you all must have heard about it. It was only the result of these fake stories and rumors that took away the lives of five men who belonged to Nath Panthi Davari Gosavi tribe who are basically the wanderers and so they keep traveling from one place to another. It was once when they went to some village in Indian state of Maharashtra and where they just offered a girl a piece of cookie, and this very courtesy became the reason for their killing, there were photos clicked of that man along with that girl, and then those photos were circulated through the most famous messaging app called WhatsApp, which actually reflected them as child snatchers, kidnappers and also as the dealers in human organs. As this fake story was circulated it raged people with anger, and it is said that around the mob of 3000 people they came and started beating them with sticks, bricks, as well as stones. It is also said that the mob was so antagonized that they even resisted the policemen from taking the bodies of those five victims. All this just happened because of these fake rumors spreading through social media.

Also if you see the other implications of the fake news you will find that big giant company like Maggi, Kurkure, Frooti also faced many losses due to the fake news that spread about them. Nestle owned Maggi was believed by people to have lead in it and also that it isn’t suitable for consumption, they were proved to be fake. Similarly, in the case of Kurkure, there were rumors that it had plastic in it again unfit for consumption. In this way, these companies faced heavy losses in their businesses.

And also according to the BBC news analysis, they found that there were approximately 31 murders that happened in the years 2017 and 2018 all of them were just because of this misinformation, spreading across people through these fake posts and messages on various social media platforms. Many others were even reported to be injured.

Also Read:Why Reforms are Needed in Indian Judicial System?

Way Forward

This very menace of fake news in India is actually hitting new heights, the number of posts that were found to be fake has shown a great increase from the previous 20% to present 50%. This has now further increased importance for hiring more number of fact-checkers so that this misinformation spreading through the means of social media could be kept under check. Also conducting the awareness workshops.

Taking a step ahead now the fact-checking is also being done in various other Indian languages in order to fight against this thriving fake news. In February 2019, Facebook even announced the expansion of its own third-party fact-checking program in other Indian regional languages like Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and so on.

This is now that under the extreme pressure of the government and their regulatory bodies like Election Commission that now these social media platforms are actually imposing the number of restrictions on the sharing of posts and not only this there is also the number of accounts that are being blocked as they are spreading this disinformation among people. Though the measures are being taken the menace still continues. Now the government as well as these social media platform owners have to come together, make stricter regulations for curbing all this fake news which is spreading not only in India but around t