The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) on Thursday tasked journalists to take fact-checking as their total responsibility for effective reports.

The CJID, through its fact-checking project DUBAWA, in partnership with the Google News Initiative, gave the advice at a two-day capacity training on Digital Verification on fact-checking for journalists in Port Harcourt.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN re0

ports that DUBAWA is a West African Independent Verification and Fact-checking project initiated by the CJID and supported by the most influential Newsroom and Civi Organisations in West Africa, to help amplify the culture of truth in public discourse and policy.

The Deputy Director for Verification, Fact checking and Media Literacy Practice in DUBAWA, at CJID, Caroline  Anipah, said the aim of the training was to build African  Newsrooms capacity in digital  journalism skills, verification, and fact-checking journalism.

Anipah said it was important for journalists to be aware and pay more  attention to the problem of misinformation, disinformation and malinformation which everyone called fake news.

She said that journalists were more at risk because they could be targeted by bad actors to amplify false information, and their reputation dented by their audience, saying that journalists needed more credibility to remain intact.

“We have noticed that it’s now difficult to know who is a journalist or a blogger or social media influencers because of technology.”

She said that was one of the reasons for training 32 journalists from different Newsrooms from online, print and Radio, in different parts of the country.

The Deputy Director urged those who are actual journalists to abide by the ethics and guidelines of journalism, ensuring they were not putting out false information to the public during election.

Anipah mentioned some of the solutions to curb information disorder as Editor’s patience for reporters to gather genuine facts and accurate information and not being more interested on breaking the news to the public.

She urged Newsroom owners to stop influencing reports brought by their reporters, but should allow editorial Independence, urging them to improve the welfare condition of their workers to enable them to do their work effectively.

Anipah urged the public to contact website on facts checking like, Google search, Bing,Tineye among others, for accurate information before they shared it to the people.

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Mr Kemi Busari, the Editor of Dubawa, said that the two days  training on facts checking tools and media and information literacy support by Google would help journalists to understand the importance of media and information literacy.

It would also help to equip them with skills needed for facts checking, going into the 2023 election in Nigeria.

Busari said with a lot of false information going around the country it was important that journalists should use the knowledge and skills learnt from facts checking to do some quality facts checking work during the election.

He advised journalists with the knowledge of digital facts checking to take the task as a responsibility, because they midwifed a lot of information that the public was preview to.

Busari urged journalists to be bold enough to own a responsibility when they put up an error to the public and correct the error.

He advised journalists trained on facts checking to also train their colleagues in the news rooms.

Furthermore, Stefano Reccia, Senior Partner,  Google Safety Engineering Centre (GSEC), who spoke on the topic, Online Account Security, urged journalists to protect their Google account, Email, among others.

Reccia said that journalists, news class, Non-Governmental Organisations, government bodies, electoral candidates, campaign teams and election monitors were vulnerable to account security threats.

He urged the public to be cautious of deception accounts, malicious softwares and links or illegitimate websites.

Reccia advised journalists to protect their accounts with security key that could not be found or used by anyone else or save their passwords with strong and long characters.

Mr Stanley job Stanley, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), lauded the organisers of the programme for their efforts to train journalists in Nigeria for accurate and factual reports during the forth coming election.

The chairman said that the training would go a long way to curb the speed of information disorder in Soth-West, South-South, and South-East regions during and after election.NAN