Team Lead for DUBAWA Ghana, Caroline Anipah, has charged journalists to be key actors in the prevention of the spread of information disorder, popularly known as fake news.
In an era where social media has become a popular source of information, some of which are false, Ms. Anipah said legacy media and by extension, professional journalists, must become torchbearers in the fight against fake news.
She made the statement on Thursday 5 May 2022, when DUBAWA Ghana participated in the US Embassy’s World Press Freedom film show and seminar in partnership with the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).
The seminar was under the theme “Fake News, Disinformation and Misinformation”.
Ms. Anipah was joined by two other speakers, Bernard Koku Avle, General Manager of Citi FM and Citi TV, Nathaniel Attigah, Principal Lead, Odekro, and Assistant and Project Lead at Ghana Decides for the seminar held at the GIJ, North Dworwulu campus.
Reiterating DUBAWA’s core mandate of fighting information disorder through a rigorous fact-checking process, Ms. Anipah said,
“With social media platforms identified as breeding ground for the spread of fake news, journalists need to be guarded in the use of the media type. Thus, there is a need to build the capacity of journalists in young democracies like Ghana, still trying to keep up with the daily evolution of social media. We believe that if journalists are able to spot fake news, they will tailor their reporting so as to counteract the effects of mis/disinformation.”
Bernard Avle shared some of his practical experiences as a practising journalist for twenty years which included the need for journalists to uphold truth in their storytelling and to go beyond Internet searches and get to the field and listen to people for their perspective on matters. He also advised that journalists become knowledgeable in all fields so as to limit what he termed as the ‘tyranny of experts’ by always calling experts on shows.
Quoting a popular dictum for media practitioners, Avle said,
“The journalists’ first obligation is to the truth, journalism is a discipline of verification and the practitioners’ loyalty is first to the public.”
On his part, Nathaniel Attigah also explained how necessary it was for information received online to be verified before sharing given the mischievous and economically-motivated intent of mis and disinformation peddlers. In a documentary aired, he showed how misinformation could negatively impact the outcome of presidential elections and the possibility of creating chaos.
The Information Officer at the US embassy, Kevin Brosnahan, was excited about the interest shown by the students and the resource persons and pledged the Embassy’s commitment towards fighting misinformation.
The seminar was attended by a cross-section of students, faculty members of the Institute as well as some staff from the US Embassy and DUBAWA Ghana.