The Spreading of Rumours
Related human rights
Right of self-expression. May be related to all human rights, depending on the content of the picture chosen.
It is very important to choose a good picture. It’s best if the picture is related to an event, but enough time has passed, so that the audience couldn’t remember it well.
The facilitator asks for 5 volunteers. 4 of them are asked to leave the room. The remaining are explained the task: they are shown the photo, which has an emotional impact and rather few details. The task for the audience and the remaining volunteer: to memorise as much information about the picture as possible, especially about its emotional expression. Then the photo is removed and one of the volunteers is invited from the other room. The task of the volunteer is to give the best description of the picture for the person, who has not seen it.
One of the suggested pictures – a still from the ISIS propaganda video with the journalist James Foley.
The audience must watch the change of the information quality in the chain of its distribution. It would be convenient to have 2 more participants as volunteers to record the information that is changed or lost.
At the end of the chain, demonstrate the picture discussed.
The facilitator begins a discussion on the following questions:
1. What information was lost and when? Which chains lost most of the information? Which part of the chain would be a journalist responsible for?
2. Which information remained and why?
3. Have you encountered similar situations of information distortion in reality? What do you do upon encountering such information?
4. Do you think people always spread rumours on purpose? How could we use critical thinking here?
5. What should a critical thinker do in order to prevent the spreading of rumours further?
Further suggestions, additional material
Upon discussing these questions, you can also clarify the situation in the picture. Explain that the photo shows the final moments of the freelance U.S. journalist James Foley, tell his story and the origins and course of the Arab Spring. More information on that is available at https://www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org/.
Other ways of using the material by peer educators
You can modify the exercise by changing the picture and adding more questions.