2019: Experts task media on adopting mechanism to counter fake news

Posted by Garba Muhammad, Kaduna | 16 December 2018 | 806 times

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The former producer of BBC World Service, Mr Mustafa Chinade, has urged media organisations in the country to develop mechanisms to checkmate fake news and hate speeches before the commencement of the 2019 general elections. 

He gave the advice on Friday at the sixth edition of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) annual workshop organised for media practitioners.

 Mr. Chinade, who is currently the Managing Editor of Bayero University Kano BUK Today Magazine, said this became imperative in order to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.

 Part of the mechanisms to be adopted to checkmate fake news, he said, includes maintaining fairness and balance and fact-checking of news report before publication.

 According to him, “earning the trust of the people is very key in reportage.”

 In his keynote address, the KRPC’s Executive Director of Services, Dr Abdullahi Idris, said that social media has exacerbated and accelerated the speed at which false stories spread.

 “Our challenge, then, in the face of the growth of misinformation and fake news, is to help people separate fact from fiction.

 “This objective of the KRPC wishes to achieve by sponsoring this workshop as its way of delivering corporate social responsibility to this important segment,” Idris said.

 Similarly, in a paper delivered by Prof. Ladi Sandra Adamu from the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria, titled, “Fake News, Hate Speech and the 2019 Election: Imperative for Professional Journalism”, she urged media to play an unbiased role while covering politics, noting that the Nigerian political  landscape is overheated by fake news and hate speech ahead of the upcoming elections.

 Prof. Adamu said news reporters and editors can identify fake news by obtaining background details of a source and always having multiple sources of information.

 While urging journalists to guard against being used by politicians to fan the embers of fake news and hate speeches, Adamu noted that gatekeeping roles, ownership factor, poor salary structure and among other factors are responsible for unbiased reportage by journalists.

 In his welcome address, the Manager, Public Affairs of KRPC, Alhaji Aminu Daneji, called for an urgent need to reposition the media to tackle rising wave of hate speeches and fake news in the country, especially as the country approaches the delicate period of electioneering campaign.

 He noted that the rise of propaganda, hate-speech and violent politics with an extremist edge threatens stability and peace in the country.

 According to him, “There is a need to be more investment in quality information and actions to combat hatred, racism and intolerance.

 “How media rebuilds public trust in quality journalism will be a major question in the coming years.  The information crisis is one that touches on the prospects for democracy.”


Source: News Express

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