Experts urge journalists to embrace fact-checking

Sat, Dec 2, 2023
By editor


TWO digital communication experts have urged journalists to embrace fact-checking when writing their reports.

This, they said, was to ensure that the quality of their work was believable, to distinguish themselves from the purveyors of disinformation.

The experts made this known at a workshop on “Combating Disinformation in a Digital Age: Fact-Checking for Responsible Journalism” held on Friday in Lagos.

The workshop was organised by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association for journalists.

One of the experts, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, said that the workshop came against the background of incidence of misinformation and disinformation.

Otufodunrin is the Executive Director, Media Career Development Network.

He said that the workshop came at a time when there was no regulation, and so much false information that could mislead, deceive, and make people take wrong decisions.

“So, this is to empower journalists to appreciate the need for doing fact-checking and apply it to their day to day work.

“Even when they can not do it all the time, do it once in a while, so that the quality of our reports can be enhanced and evidence-based, which is very important.

According to him, it is important that journalists show evidence, as they are the real professionals, and be in that space where people are easily deceived.

“So because journalists have access to information, when there is misinformation, they should speak up and let people know, so that people are not deceived; that is why it is very important to do that, “ Otufodunrin said.

Also, the Executive Director, International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade, said it had become necessary for journalists to fact-check, saying journalism comes with the discipline of verification.

According to him, such duty becomes very important as journalists are no longer controlling the media space.

“The social media allows individuals to generate their own content, put it out there, and then when it comes to public interest issues, sometimes they mislead the public.

“They provide misinformation about politicians, about those who are leading us, and our main duty is to help to sanitise the information space.

“So, what we have done is to say that, what fact-checking does is to remind us of those basic obligations of asking necessary questions and where we are not sure, use relevant tools to get the correct information and push it out there, “ he said.

Arogundade said that journalists had the responsibility of letting people know that sharing what they did not know the source could also be very harmful to the public in the sense that some of this disinformation could lead to hate speech.

“Our role is to advocate for a sanitised information space, so that citizens can rely on us for credible information, “ he said. (NAN)


December 2, 2023 @ 6:56 GMT|