The Department of Philosophy in the School of Arts at the University of Jordan (UJ) hosted journalist and media expert Dr. Sami Kleib to talk about “Rumours and the Formation of Awareness in Modern Media”.
During the lecture, which was managed by Prof. Goerge Elfar with the attendance of Dean of the School of Arts, Prof. Mohammad Alquda, Kleib defined it as the spreading of news or stories in a secretive manner and in an unorganized way, without checking its credibility and without providing sources.
Many times, true stories may spread but are misrepresented and with distorted facts which falsifies the original story. He added, rumour is an old social phenomenon and it took on several shapes throughout human history and evolved with the evolution of human societies, what’s more, it coincides with the movement of struggles, and conflicts. Also it accompanies economic and military greed, and social, political and cultural changes.
Kleib pointed out that the rumour depends on individual communication. It emerged as a scientific concept in the twentieth century. He also noted this phenomenon served the function of media for a long time in human history before the appearance of media in its current concept.
In a comparison between rumour and propaganda, he said that the latter is a process of spreading an idea or a political theory with the aim of impacting public opinion to change its perspective on events, persons, and products and to push it to adopt new ideas that serve the people behind the propaganda.
It also depends on a system of persuasion or brain-washing based on intimidation or desire or both, while rumour appears and spreads without purpose.
Kleib said that the elevation of the level of worry and fear for humans increases the chance of political hype to work, on the basis that ‘self-preservation’ is one of man’s first instincts. He used the example of what ISIS had done in order to achieve all its success in easily conquering cities and villages through its bloody advertising that created the state of horrible panic in people.
He addressed the role of social media in supporting the spread of rumour and propaganda through the manipulation of pictures and videos; a conflict can easily move from one country to the other. He presented examples of countries and people who have used them in international forums, events and wars in order to achieve personal and national gain.
Kleib said, In order to combat both rumours and propaganda the level of awareness has to rise among people, also there should be a need to check news sources and to focus only on reliable sources and to search for the identity of the source and their affiliation.
At the end of the lecture, presented by Prof. George Elfar and attended by the Dean of the School of Arts, Prof. Mohammed Alqudah and the head of the Department of Philosophy, Dr. Amer Shattara and a selection of professors and students, a dialogue between Kleib and attendances occurred.