FAKE NEWS: Journalists Advised to Fact-Check to Curb Fake News, Hate Speech

Fake News

Published ON DECEMBER 23, 2019

Media experts have enjoined journalists to master and understand professional ethics, as well as synergise the advantage of innovative fact-checking mechanisms, with a view to combating fake news and hate speech.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the 7th Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company-(KRPC) workshop, organised for media practitioners. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day workshop which was held in Kano, saw participation from media practitioners from Kaduna, Abuja, Kano, Kebbi and Katsina states.

NAN also reports that the theme of the workshop was: ‘Media Laws: Ethics and Challenges of Hate Speech.’ NAN reports that after intense intellectual and highly interactive sessions, some resolutions were adopted in a communique.

According to the communique; “fake news and hate speech exist, and are being perpetrated by professional and non-professional journalists, which has created a threat to credibility and journalism profession, democracy as well as unity, peace and overall national development.

“The lack of upholding the tenets of the profession and decline of the conventional media practice, were responsible for the trending of fake news and hate speech. “Organizational and personal development, training and re-training, empowerment with modern equipment, improved remuneration and emerging technology will enable journalists perform their duties adequately and combat the current trend of fake news and hate speech.

“Media practitioners should note that sometimes fake news, usually disguised, might be completely false or have an element of fact, ” the communique read.

The communique said; “fake news and hate speech oftentimes ignites avoidable violence and destruction of lives and property.” It noted that journalists have a responsibility to hold the political and public officials accountable.

“Media and related laws should be reviewed, rather than striving to halt global technological surge that is unstoppable. “Journalists should own up to their mistakes and proactively correct such mistakes, retract and apologise, if and when the need arises.”

According to the communique. “though the new media has come to stay, what the conventional media should do is to key-in and align itself with new media in such a way that bad excesses of the social media can effectively be checked. ”

Media practitioners are tasked to go back to the basics, especially on ethical standard. “Practitioners must act with integrity by being honest, courageous and also thorough in news gathering. “Allegiance of journalists should be to the public and not to any other body.

“Though anonymity is allowed but journalists should be wary of anonymous sources that could be fake,” it added. ” Journalists must always adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession and also report above their interest.

“They must report objectively by being truthful, accurate and unbiased in the discharge of their duties. “Media practitioners should inculcate the habit of editorial independence. “Practitioners are to upgrade their standards of reportage, as they have better opportunities to report accurately and promptly, ahead of non-professionals

“The media should be used for the common good of all and strive to control the narratives and shaping of viewpoints. “Media owners should invest in artificial intelligence, 3D animation, fibre optics, broadband and news/ programmes management software.

“Media management should invest in digital strategies and use various means of transmission. “Management should ensure at least 50 per cent presence online and be fast in breaking the story. “Practitioners should not take the public for granted, as sophistication of viewership, readership and listenership, is on the increase, ” the communique read.

NAN reports that the communique was signed by Godwin Isenyo of Punch newspapers and Asmau Iyawo Halilu of Voice of Nigeria, among other members (NAN)

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