Examining Journalists' Perception of Fake News and their Attitude Toward Debunking Disinformation

Erlis Çela


Fake news and other forms of disinformation pose a serious threat to the news ecosystem and the informing of audiences, who are increasingly dependent on online sources of information. After the attention paid to the spreading of fake news, researchers have focused on the study of the negative effects that different typologies of disinformation are prone to having on audiences. Similarly, great attention has also been paid to the motives that users have for the spreading of fake news.

These studies, which combine various disciplines, attempt to analyze the psychological factors and motives that lead users to engage with online fake news. On the other hand, several studies have analyzed the role of platforms and their algorithmic logic, as well as the main approaches for addressing this significant problem. Although much effort has been devoted to the phenomenon of disinformation in social media, the role of professional journalists in exposing false information has not been given the necessary attention.

Albania is a country with a high rate of fake news and conspiracy theories. This study will investigate the Albanian journalists’ perception of fake news and the risk in them being used as a means of (dis)informing the audience. It will also focus on how this perception affects their behavior and willingness to debunk disinformation on social media. Making use of a national-level questionnaire, to which 270 journalists contributing in the Albanian media responded, the study aims to answer some important questions about the role of journalists in addressing disinformation issues in the social media space. The findings from this study indicate that although journalists in Albania perceive fake news as a danger to democracy, the media and the journalism profession, they do not seem motivated to engage in the debunking actions and exposing of fake news circulating online.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v11i6.6307


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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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