Knowledge is the key pillar of democracy; no democracy can be effective and real in a country where citizens do not have correct knowledge about the events taking place around them. Historically, the press has played a pivotal role in providing this knowledge, which means providing the public with correct and credible information to help it understand its reality.
After more than 400 years have passed since the publication of the world's first printed newspaper in Germany, a set of professional standards has come to be known as the foundations of journalistic work. These include accuracy, balance, comprehensiveness, and objectivity. Judging the credibility of journalists or media outlets depends on how much these are achieved in the media content they produce. In this sense, credibility is the fruit of all these standards combined.
Although each one of these standards is important in its own right, "accuracy" remains the sine qua non when writing and broadcasting any media content. "Accuracy" means that the information contained in a report, news story, or other journalistic forms is "correct." If, for any reason, it is possible to overlook any of the abovementioned standards, publishing incorrect information destroys the very role played by the press, which is providing knowledge to the public.
However, judging a certain report as being "accurate" is a complicated process. The accuracy of information is as important as the way in which this information is communicated. This is because language, which is the main vehicle of the journalist, is not absolutely neutral, like all other means of communication. It can, depending on the method in which it is used, influence content.
Accuracy, therefore, does not only mean saying what is true and correct; it also means saying it in a way that guarantees that it will reach the reader as true and correct. Misusing language, whether wittingly or not, when writing about a certain event, could twist the truth, even if all the information in it is correct.
This explains the importance of theorizing about language in the press and in verification since it is one of the key indicators of the fulfillment of professional standards. While it is important in the press in general, it acquires added importance in the verification process. The person who is assigned the task of verification cannot question the credibility of a piece of news based on the use of nonprofessional language when he himself employs such language.