How To Checkmate Fake News? Experts Have Their Say By Remi Sulola

The need for a ‘fact checker’ website to checkmate the growing trend of fake news in the country was the centre point of a one-day workshop organised by the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) in Abuja on Thursday.

Speakers agreed that for the nation to avoid the pitfalls of taking in whole fake news from sources, the country needs to evolve and design a website which will help to check facts concerning Nigeria.

Manny Aniebonam, a professor, who also is the conveyer of the workshop, in his paper titled ‘Fake News and The Demand Of Evolving Journalism In The Post-Truth Era’, said it was unfortunate that Nigeria has no communication policy that could help regulate and synergise the inflow and outflow of information in the country.

He said it was time to have a platform like the Snopes which was created by an American couple to check mate the inflow of fake news.

Aniebonam further said he would be happy to partner with interested Nigerians to establish a fact-checking website by providing the man power of its conceptualisation and design.

Kingsley Osadolor, former editor of The Guardian on Sunday, stressed the need for the gate keepers to be up and doing in their responsibilities by ensuring such news are not used in the main stream media.

According to Osadolor, the main stream media can only take the front burner in the fight to stop the growing wave of fake news by ensuring depth investigation of their news stories.

He noted that with the global trend in the new media, journalism can only thrive when facts are the main stay of information released by them.

He added that it was unfortunate that most media houses pick information from the social media without verifying its authenticity before publication.

A trend he attributed to laziness on the part of the gatekeepers in the media houses, saying “Gatekeeping in the media houses should start from the reporter and ends with the editors.

“It is not a one way traffic, so, for you to have efficiency the reporter and the editors must be guided by the rule of the game.”

The workshop which had in attendance media men, bloggers, public affairs advocates and other stake holders, also agreed on the sanitisation of the journalism profession by placing emphasis on the ethics of the profession and compelling media house owners to always pay remunerations of their workers to boost their efficiency.

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