How Factchecking Is Checkmating the Menace of Fake News, Information Disorder

How Factchecking Is Checkmating the Menace of Fake News, Information Disorder

Information disorder is a rapidly growing trend in the public and media space, more noticeably on social media, and this continues to be a source of concern for media professionals and the general public. As the spread of false information continues at the speed of a click, both the government and media experts face the

Information disorder is a rapidly growing trend in the public and media space, more noticeably on social media, and this continues to be a source of concern for media professionals and the general public. As the spread of false information continues at the speed of a click, both the government and media experts face the challenge of controlling the fast-paced technological spaces. Another challenge is how to find a balance between the proposed media regulations and not impede freedom of expression, which is essential to the fundamental rights of human beings.

Without equivocation, the threat of false information must be constantly investigated in order to provide the truth to the general public. Countering false information is a rigorous activity that involves all hands on deck to monitor the inflow and outflow of different narratives across the media. Although completely eliminating the spread of disinformation and misinformation may be difficult, there is a possibility of halting it before it spreads like a wildfire.

In the commemoration of International fact-checking Day, which is April 2nd of every year, there is an urgent need for a timely reminder of the crucial role factchecking plays in maintaining the integrity and truthfulness of information and combating misinformation. Since some members of the public are uninformed about the various forms of communication and anything published on the internet is assumed to be the work of journalists, the need to embark on more factchecking of information has continued to grow.

Moreover, amid the chaotic media landscape and the chaos of misinformation, there is a beacon of hope, as factchecking is seen as the only tool dedicated to verifying the accuracy of claims and debunking falsehoods. These processes necessitate the use of thorough research methodologies to investigate information and ensure that truths and facts are always distinguished from fictions.

Speaking on the importance of factchecking in correcting information disorder, the Executive Director of the International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade, said fake news has caused damage to society, thereby creating doubts in the minds of the people.

Calling for a collective fight against false information, Mr Arogundade cited examples of politicians who are used to misleading the public for their political gains. Then, he implored public servants to be the messengers of truth rather than lies who “If our information is distorted, if our information is false then the public will not be able to rely on us for the kind of information that will make society better.

“We also need to do fact checking because we don’t want politicians to get away with falsehoods. We don’t want politicians to get away with unfulfilled campaign promises. We also don’t want politicians to get away with claims that are not true, especially when they are talking about their achievements.

“It is our obligation as a society to ensure that the information that comes from public officials, and that we disseminate are accurate and reliable. “When you fail to fact check, you may have failed journalism,” he said.

Speaking further on the role played in correcting information disorders in society, Mr. Arogundade referred to the past trainings facilitated by the International Press Centre, which were conducted with the support of the Component 4: Support to Media of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGNII) project.

He said the project has further inclined journalists to the need to verify information before disseminating it to members of the public. Through the trainings done across the country, journalists who performed in the trainings have begun to showcase their knowledge of factchecking.

One of the beneficiaries of the training, Mr. El-Zaharadeen Umar, a journalist from Leadership News Paper told NDR that Factcheck has served a light beamer for him to further separate between truth and falsehood.

“One thing I learned during our recent training on Factchecking was that it is the simple way of proving the claimed by our politician who made claim or statement on the public, but through Fact checking journalist can track and make sure if the claim was true or false.

“Another aspect that I believed Fact checking has to do with it is that through Factchecking can hold the government and other agencies, as well as securities, responsible for whatever they did by following some procedure to achieve the desired goal.”. he said.

Meanwhile, some media experts have posited that factchecking can serve as mind changer for members of the public to desist from sharing unverified information in the public space.

Kabir Adejumo, the Southwest Editor of Humangle argued that media literacy will help to ensure that people can identify false information “With fact-checking, false information can be debunked, and some of the people who read the fact-check change their minds and stop sharing the false information. On the other hand, increasing the media literacy of the public helps to ensure that people can identify false and misleading information and debunk it with basic fact-checking”, Mr. Adejumo explained.

In his submission, Silas Jonathan, Digital Investigations Manager, Dubawa/Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, stated that “The practice of fact-checking is crucially important in the age of information disorder because of the tiny line between false and true information. He added that “Fact-checking helps people make informed decisions. With the truth provided through fact-checking, people can understand what is harmful to them and avoid it.

“Fact-checking holds those in power accountable. It acts as a check and balance, capable of holding to account those who intend to twist facts for their personal gains.Most importantly, fact-checking safeguards the practice of democracy. It ensures that the truth is accessible to the public, preventing anarchy from taking its course.

Stating the key importance of fact-checking in the era of information disorder, Mr. Jonathan maintained that “it is a reminder to think of better ways to fight the menace of misinformation. Some of these ways include:

We must embrace innovation and technology. As AI continues to be a negative tool in the hands of those willing to create fakes, we must also harness it to defend the truth.

“Again, media houses should invest heavily in the skill and practice of fact-checking. We must embrace the practice wholly, not only when falsehoods arise.

“There is also a need for collaboration. Organisations must not work in isolation. Stronger and more robust collaboration with tech companies, government bodies, and CSOs should be encouraged.

“Fact-checking remains our most valuable arsenal in the war against information disorder. Thus, we must find ways to improve the practice and spread it to one and all”, he said.

In his opinion, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, Executive Director, Media Career Development, called for more awareness on the danger of false information and how to combat it.

“We need to let people know that there is false information around, they need to be more careful. There are stories they will read that their instincts will tell them something is wrong, and they need to verify. There should be more training for journalists to identify fake news because at times even journalists are deceived. You need to be sure that you are reading from a verified source”, he said.

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos