OFF-CYCLE GUBER: IPC, UNDP train Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo Journalists on fact-checking, questioning, detecting misinformation
As November 11, 2023 off-cycle gubernatorial election draws nearer, the International Press Centre, IPC, has under the iVerify project by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, trained journalists on how to ensure credibility of electoral information, despite the odds.
Famousreporters.com reports that no fewer than 81 journalists drawn from the print, electronic and online media in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states have been trained on fact-checking to in a two-day intensive workshop held across the three states, in a bid to adequately prepare Media Practioners for the November 11 poll.
Twenty-seven male and female journalists from Kogi participated in the first leg of the training at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on October 27 and 28, whereas another set of journalists comprising males and females from Bayelsa and Imo State, numbering 27 each, attended the workshop at Echelon Heights, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State’s capital, on October 30 and 31 and subsequently, November 2 and 3, respectively.
The Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in his charger, advised journalists to ensure they always report only factual information during and after the election.
IPC Director, however, regretted that most journalists tend to present to the public the picture in their head thus discarding the reality.
He advised Media Practioners to abstain from indiscriminate sharing of links, videos or images without thoroughly verifying the source, as well as its authenticity especially in the forthcoming coming election.
Speaking on the topic: ‘The Art of questioning in Journalism and Being Detectives of Misinformation’, the Director of Journalism Clinic, Mr. Taiwo Obe stressed that it was the role of Journalists to help citizens make informed decisions.
T. O who stressed that Media practitioners ought to engage in journalism that impacts on the society, urged Journalists to endeavour to provide the public with pictures in reality to buttress their facts.
Further, he emphasised the need for journalists to embrace the Hard-core evidence while playing their watchdog roles especially while indulging in investigative roles.
T. O who described journalists as finders, reiterated the impacts of asking questions in the practice of information gathering and dissemination, insisting that “the only way you can get the Hard-core Evidence is by asking questions.
Continuing, he said: “Journalists are finders who question and question those answers up until there are no further questions to be asked.”
He, therefore, advised Media Practioners to develop tactics for asking questions, saying it will enable them obtain appropriate answers.
Moreso, the Founder of Journalism Clinic urged journalists both reporters and editors to be detectives of misinformation, adding, “and be prepared to debunk falsehoods without amplifying them.”
Moreso, Mr. David Ajikobi Editor Africa Check, who spoke on the topic: ‘Fact-checking of Information to Promote Electoral Integrity’ admonished members of the fourth estate of the realm on the need to utilise publicly available data in verifying the accuracy of claims by public figures, organisations, as well as social media.
According to Africa Check Editor, fact-checking is used “to refer mainly to subediting in newsrooms before publishing an article in a newspaper or broadcasting a story on the Radio or Television.
“In the case of independent fact-checking organisations, it is verifying information that is already in the public domain”.
He stressed that people need access to accurate information in order to make well-informed decisions, as he outlined Google digital globe, image search, Google Reverse Image Search, among others as iVerify tools to investigate information.
Earlier in her welcome address, Stella Nwofia, Programme Manager, International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos
stated that the concern about information integrity “has always been at the core of IPC’s interventions and engagements to promote what we at IPC call good journalism.
“The second leg of the three trainings is designed for 81 journalists from the broadcast, print, and online media who are involved in reporting electoral processes across the three states where off-cycle polls would be held come November 11, 2023.
“It was the concern about the threats to information integrity at elections that led IPC to spearhead the development and adoption of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which provides comprehensive and detailed guidelines on the obligations of equitable access, social responsibility, credibility, avoidance of hate speech and conflict-sensitivity. It is good to note that all the umbrella media professional bodies and associations endorsed the Media Election Code