nCa News and Commentary
President Berdymuhamedov, in a telephone conversation on Wednesday congratulated President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan who has turned 62 today.
The leaders discussed the prospects of strengthened cooperation including in the sphere of regional initiatives for connectivity and economic integration.
While a gesture of solidarity with the fraternal neighbour, a supplementary outcome of this telephone conversation is that it puts to rest the speculations about the health of the Turkmen president that were based on an obscure and literally unheard-of source.
In the aftermath of the rumor of the alleged death of the president of Turkmenistan, the Turkmen government did not show any direct reaction except for statements of rebuttal from its embassies in Moscow and Bishkek.
Perhaps an important lesson to be learned from this episode is that the media cannot afford to forget that it is morally responsible for the verification of facts before publishing the story.
It also shows a side of the Turkmen mentality that instills the importance of dealing with the situations in a calm and measured manner.
Simultaneously, it is important to point out that President Berdymuhamedov went on vacation on 15 July 2019.
As the president of the country, he has to spend long and irregular hours in the limelight and as a consequence doesn’t get the opportunity to find adequate time for his family and close friends. The vacation is the only time-slot when he gets to spend quality time with the family and friends.
Just like everyone else, it is his primary right to remain undisturbed during the vacation.
This is a perpetually connected world and every piece of information, true or false, circulates around the globe in a matter of minutes.
The question here is: what was the purpose of starting the rumor about the demise of the president of Turkmenistan and did it serve the intended purpose?
If the purpose was to destabilize the country, there are no signs of any kind of instability in the aftermath of this rumor. The government and the entire public and private sector are functioning as usual.
If the purpose was to trigger panic in the Turkmen society, this purpose has also not been achieved because the Turkmen people are not prone to panic on the base of a flimsy piece of rumor.
The only purpose that has actually been served is that some media outlets have lost their credibility.
Together with this, it is necessary to highlight that the dividing line between the professional media and social media is being blurred in the race for popularity. Nevertheless, one should understand that popularity is not equal to credibility.
The professional media must keep in mind that every piece of information they disseminate is either adding to or subtracting from their credibility —— And, a media house is nothing without credibility. /// nCa, 24 July 2019