Participants at the just-ended Africa Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC) 2022 have been urged to leverage new digital tools throughout the media value chain to solve nagging socio-economic problems in Africa and to ensure sustainability.
Speaking on Digital Innovation, Caroline Anipah, Head of DUBAWA, the fact-checking arm of the Centre for Journalism and Innovation (CJID), said it has become necessary for African newsrooms and fact-checking organisations to “fund themselves.” It has also become vital that they “explore innovative ways” of gathering relevant news and claims, producing the same, and connecting with their various audiences across the continent.
Citing DUBAWA as an example, Ms Anipah said the fact-checking organisation, with the help of the Google news initiative, is currently piloting an automated radio fact-checking application. The technology will identify potential misinformation and disinformation comments on radio stations and decide whether those claims are true or false.
She said the application has become necessary because radio remains a major vehicle for spreading information disorder, despite the increasing popularity of digital media.
“We do not have the personnel to monitor all these radio stations and check for potential ‘fake news,’ but with this application or digital innovation, we plan to add another layer of investigation to combat fake news,” she added.
According to Ms Anipah, the group is considering several ways of making its verified reports accessible to its audience to consolidate the fight against information disorder.
Kathryn Kotze, the Operations Manager at Daily Maverick, an online audio and video media, said her outfit had developed new products to meet the expectations of her audiences and every process within the chain of work has seen remarkable innovation.
“How we engage, improve, and solve problems is all part of a strategy that goes through continuous innovation,” she added.
As a women’s advocate, Catherine Gicheru, the Africa Women’s Journalism Project Director, said her institution had come this far only through constant innovation.
Over 300 journalists across the globe converged at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 18th edition of the AIJC 2022.
The Conference, among other things, was to empower investigative journalists and to “boost cross-border collaboration, giving rise to the next wave of great investigations.”
The three-day Conference, which started on Monday, October 31, 2022 and ended on Wednesday, November 3, 2022, examined topics cutting across the latest digital tools, including Artificial Intelligence; investigating health, the environment, insurgency; online safety; media sustainability, business, and finance reporting.
Over 140 speakers, including Ghana’s Anas Aremeyaw Anas, were present to share their knowledge and experiences with journalists and to challenge them to achieve greater heights.
Given the increasing cases of impunity against journalists, which has led to the killing of practitioners across the continent, the AIJC 2022 ended with a call on governments and all other actors, particularly state actors, to eschew acts of impunity and, more importantly, to bring closure to chilling cases of murder on the continent.