It’s time we put a full stop to the ‘well-placed source’ nonsense when reporting

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

The time has come for all of us to reevaluate the way we disseminate information to bring a definite end to the spread of disinformation and fake news.




One definite way to go about it is to stop putting too much trust in the so-called well-placed sources who may not be that well-placed after all or may be well-placed but harbour hidden agendas.

Under the circumstances, these sources may tailor the information or ‘truths’ they deliver to you in ways that best suit their whims and would probably distance themselves from you should a problem occur.

It follows, to prevent yourself from getting into a rut or being manipulated, you have to refrain from quoting unnamed sources and share only information delivered from those willing to expose their identities.

Of course, there are exceptions – for instance, if the Prime Minister were to hand me a piece of information on condition of anonymity, I would gladly publish it if he is willing, quoting him as a “well-placed” source.

Or, if the information is the opinion of a person who wishes to remain anonymous, I have no qualms publishing the opinion so long as it isn’t seditious or something that could cause problems.

Otherwise, publish the name of your source or take full responsibility for what you’re publishing without telling people that it’s from a ‘well-placed source’.

When a news portal wrote yesterday of Friday’s Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council meeting, it spoke of an ‘unnamed source’, that so much so, I felt compelled to get a clearer picture by speaking to another source.

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That led me to publish an article where I gave an alternate version to what the news portal said, indicating that some of the information delivered was flawed.

I assure you that my source is ‘well-placed’. But there are also five others who’re willing to swear heaven and earth the exact same thing but have different versions of the same story altogether.

I really don’t have the time for all this, and neither does my informant. So, unless we can all reveal our sources or prove that we were in the thick of things, give it a rest.

To make life easier, let’s all stop this nonsense of quoting unnamed sources unless that source is the Prime Minister himself, someone of his caliber or someone delivering an opinion that isn’t going to cause any harm to anyone.



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