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25 June, 2024
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Media's credibility challenged amidst political allegations

Anonymous figures gain popularity as society seeks reliable reporters

George Kakouris

George Kakouris

I'm interested in a proper investigation of the Kanari - Giannaki dispute, not who's right or wrong. What I mean is that the issue isn't trivial, and the statements made by the anonymous "Nikaros" account may not necessarily be accurate or incorrect depending on our support for a particular faction within the military elite and our perception of where they belong.

The account that humorously parodies the name of Joe Lo satirizes, expresses opinions, discusses political backstage, and recently shares documents. The truths and fabrications are mixed, and the balance between the two components depends on our individual knowledge, perspective, and judgment.

What's certain is that the same criteria we apply to evaluating information from media or journalists should also be applied when dealing with information from an anonymous account.

I find it curious that those who exhaustively analyze the dependencies of each media outlet and journalist don't do the same with a satirical or troll account, especially when they agree with the approach and perspective it presents.

When we encounter information confirming our existing beliefs, we tend to lower our defenses and become more susceptible to misinformation.

In recent days, I've seen people wonder if anonymous accounts are now doing the job of journalists, revealing documents and information. What they mean is that if the written content is valid, the media should have brought it to light.

Furthermore, if it turns out that the accusations against someone are true, it implies that the individual had media access that allowed them to prevent the information from being disclosed.

Here lies part of the problem. Due to instances where journalists and media outlets have taken on roles as players within the system instead of being watchdogs of public interest, many now prefer to believe an anonymous account whose motives are unknown.

The other part of the problem is the lack of trust in the government's ability to handle things correctly and the certainty that elected politicians and public officials, appointed with the power granted by citizens' votes, have the same credibility as those who give the impression of finally "speaking the truth."

Perhaps the motives of the "Nikaros" account are ethical and everything it presents is real. Perhaps not. Maybe it's somewhere in between. However, the recurring pattern is a society seeking truth, its revelation, and the realization of citizens' desires through almost messianic figures – from the general overseer to Nikos Christodoulidis, to "Joe Lo." While citizens initially react and elevate them, eventually they superficially condemn them.

Given that we cannot solely rely on the government to improve itself (although many things have improved over the decades and can continue to do so), much of the ethical responsibility now falls on journalists and media outlets. They need to prove to the public that there's a reason for their existence and that they're willing to overcome fears and limitations imposed by interests and advertisers. While anonymous voices may be useful at times, society still needs those who will follow the trail, verify what's true and what isn't, understand the true dimensions of an issue, and put their professional and personal credibility on the line to document it.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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