Fake News Explored

New Zealanders’ attitudes to fake news and misinformation are being challenged in a new programme and podcast series on OAR FM.

Truthteller is hosted by investigative reporter Stephen Davis, who published a book of the same name last year.

Davis has for the past three years studied the issue of fake news, bringing a career as an award-winning reporter, editor, foreign correspondent and television producer to a phenomenon that he calls “the other virus”.

“I use the word virus advisedly. In the long term, hopefully we will get a vaccine for COVID-19 but the only potential vaccine for (fake news) is to have a whole lot of well-educated people being very careful about their social media.”

Davis points to Finland as a leading defender in a “war on truth” that he says New Zealanders are unprepared for.

“The Finns have recognised that in the future the virus of fake news and misinformation has the potential to damage society, and they’re already teaching methods to deal with this stuff to kids in primary school.”

Episodes of the radio show and podcast have so far included a discussion on how the workings of our brain make us susceptible to misinformation, strategies for challenging fake news, and an interview with investigative reporter Paula Penfold about the responsibility journalists should take for the current dilemma.

Truthteller airs every Thursday at 1pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from oar.org.nz, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts.