“Journalists nowadays don't deal with facts. Often as academics we are called upon to counter the deliberate misrepresentation of news that are being given to the public,” Mukherjee added.
It is at this juncture that the study of social sciences, such as history, has become important to negate the targeted build-up of fake news, he said.
“People are being forced everyday. People who can make a difference to how news can be presented to the public everyday, are being twisted to twist news. And that is the origin of fake news,” Mukherjee said.
Addressing young journalists, he cautioned that fake news would remain a significant challenge especially in an election year and asked them to doubt everything.
Earlier in the evening, Mukherjee presented the Business Standard-Seema Nazareth Award to Business Standard Special Correspondent Somesh Jha.
The award, given every year to a journalist under the age of 30, carries a prize of Rs 50,000, a silver pen and a citation. Jha, who is based out of New Delhi, is the 20th recipient of the award, instituted by Business Standard and the Nazareth family in memory of Seema Nazareth, a young Business Standard journalist who died on March 19, 1999.
This year’s award marks the 20th anniversary of Nazareth's death. Speaking on the occasion, her father P A Nazareth said the detailed study of history held up many solutions to modern problems. Drawing a parallel with the rebellion of 1857, he argued the British painted the incident as a mere sepoy mutiny, while extensive research proves that it was the first coordinated fight for freedom.