Fact-checking Journalism, at a purely professional level, operates on the principle that Journalists must dig at the truth to reveal its nuggets rationally.
The Publisher, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, PTCIJ, Mr Oyedapo Olorunyomi, noted this at the second phase of Dubawa Fact-checking fellowship virtual training; adding that Journalists’ understanding of News must always be based on a foundation of facts, and an accurate understanding of what has happened.
Speaking on ‘Accountability Journalism’ and quoting from Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, Mr Olorunyomi noted that in its instinctive and instrumental meaning, journalism is ultimately about public good, which in essence, makes it a major decision and ethical discipline.
In her session focused on Information Disorder, the Programme Director, Dubawa Ghana, Miss Caroline Anipah, noted that information disorder, popularly known as fake news, is a blend of Misinformation, Disinformation and Mal-information; adding that it is in three phases of Creation, (Re)Production and Distribution.
She highlighted seven common forms of information disorder as: Satire or Parody (when there is no intention to cause harm but with potential to fool); Misleading Content (when an information is used to frame an issue or individual); Imposter Content (when genuine sources are impersonated); Fabricated Content (when new content is 100% false, designed to deceive and do harm); False Connection (when headlines, visuals or captions do not support the content); False Content (when genuine content is shared with false contextual information) and Manipulated Content (when genuine information or imagery is manipulated to deceive).
Miss Anipah rounded off the day’s session with a thorough lesson on Fact-checking; differentiating that, reporting is based on what is being said as it is and telling a story about an event, while fact-checking is based on the accuracy of what is being said, focusing on a specific claim in an event.
29 Journalists and Researchers from academic environment, new media platforms, Radio and Television Stations, were selected out of 104 applicants from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra-Leone and Uganda for the year 2020 Dubawa Fact-checking Fellowship, among whom are Atinuke Seun-Ige and Folashade Seye-Ojo, both of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State.
The selected fellows are expected to fact-check, publish or read at least four fact-checked stories related to politics and two media literacy articles per month; facilitate the cross publication of at least one fact-check per month in whatever format; and promote fact-checking on all social media, Radio or Television platforms as necessary.
The Dubawa Fellowship Programme, supported by Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation Abuja Office and National Endowment for Democracy, will last for six moths.