Promoting Good Governance.

Greater investments in good journalism’ll check fake news – CDD

Tasks IT firms on real commitment against false information

AS part of the efforts to check the spread of misinformation and disinformation Idayat Hassan, the Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Wednesday has advocated greater investment in good journalism practice.

“We need to increase support for good journalism. We have spoken on different initiatives but left out support for the journalists. So, there is so much need to invest in good journalism – print, radio and television,” says Hassan.

“It is still well trusted, then digital literacy, civic education and training for journalists, not only on fact-checking but critical thinking, disinformation and misinformation.”

She made this call at Day-2 of the conference on fake news held in Abuja, themed: “How to Combat the Threat of Fake News to the Democracy in Nigeria.”   

Fake news has become an issue of serious concerns to stakeholders who are worried that misinformation and disinformation could incite hatred, disharmony and, thus threaten Nigeria’s democracy.

CDD recommends new strategies to discourage dissemination of fake news, stressing the need for information resilience against the menace.

Citing Finland and the United Kingdom as instances where children from the stage of infants were reportedly taught how to decipher fake news, Hassan called for a system that could promote better civic education against the consumption of false information.

She said there is a need to design a system of fact-checking in local languages for people in various communities, in addition to the efforts of newsrooms such as  The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Cable and Premium Times.   

“Fact-Check should not just be done by civic groups but maybe in more partnerships with journalists who are already in it. We have to start calling out names, which is something that doesn’t quite happen…”

She said investing in fact-checking initiatives in the local language is very key because most of those fact checks done in English are not accessible to people in local communities.

“We have to start thinking of how to do that in local and state government level with more languages.”

In a report released at the conference, titled: ‘Sorting Facts From Fiction: Nigeria’s 2019 Election’, CDD recommended more study on the direct impact of fake news in Nigeria.

It identified need to promote digital literacy at all tiers of government and need for greater commitment from technology companies such as Facebook to help in the fight against false news.

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