Badrya Darwish

I'm fighting with our American editor over social media. Every time I come to her with news and my source is social media with all its branches - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc, she shouts and asks: "Why are you sourcing social media?" May I know whom should I source in this century, in 2017? Shall I source the history books in libraries, which haven't even been dusted in decades?

All this shouting started because we were discussing a newspaper report about the UAE banning vegetables and fruits from five countries: Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and Oman. A while ago, sorry to say again, news was everywhere that the US government had stopped the import of frozen strawberries from Egypt due to a reported hepatitis A outbreak.

My editor insisted to confirm all the specific facts with the FDA website, but I told her I had seen the photos of the strawberries on WhatsApp. It could be fake photos and fake news. In fact, nowadays, much fake news floats around social media. We have written about it before and people are aware, but still as a consumer, what should I do? Leave alone infotainment about Kim Kardashian's latest Mexico holiday or George Clooney's wife being pregnant, but when we are talking about serious issues that can affect our lives and our health and our children's lives, where can we turn to?

Where does the consumer stand in all of this? Is it really due to health concerns and awareness? Or could it be due to political issues? I have no idea. The truth of the matter is that all media - social or traditional - could be manipulated for political reasons. But would you as a consumer take a chance? Myself, I'm a coward and wouldn't.

The good news that I heard guys is that Sudan is ramping up its agricultural production, so hopefully we'll have some good Sudanese vegetables before Ramadan. Otherwise, I guess we all need to start planting urban gardens on our rooftops and balconies. But as water prices are going up, be careful and don't overwater them!

By Badrya Darwish

[email protected]