Due to the explosion of misinformation often circulating via social media, fact-checking is becoming an increasingly important part of news media, a tool for good journalism.
Fact-checking is a set of practices and tools that allow you to verify information. It is reported that there are more than 4.5 billion internet users in the world. The advent of the internet, especially via mobile phones, has allowed ordinary citizens to become casual reporters by posting photos and videos of events they witness.
The problem is that among all the contents shared on the net, there is false information, or information that deserves to be substantiated. And even if it is a tiny fraction of what people published worldwide, the verification work is colossal.
The situation is the same in every country in the world: misinformation affects the United States as much as it does in African countries; it spreads as much in Liberia and other African countries.
In order to get first hand information by verification, about twenty-five Liberian Journalists assigned at the office of the Liberian Presidency, The Executive Mansion, have concluded a two-day intensive training on fact-checking.
The training was organized by the Liberia Media Initiative and implemented by Internews in collaboration with the Local Voices Media Network and the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building.
Speaking during the training, the Project Director of the Liberia Media Initiative, Samuka Konneh said the two-day training was intended to provide freedom of information through quality journalism which includes capacity building of journalists to improve storytelling and strengthening capacities to identify and counter misinformation and disinformation campaigns, hate speech and rumors in traditional and social media.
According to him, fact-checking is the center part of journalism practice around the world , adding that the training is a great opportunity for Executive Mansion reporters.
He further praised the leadership of Journalists covering the Executive Mansion (Executive Mansion Press Corps) for their continue engagement with them, something he said was what let to the organization of the training.
For her part, the chairperson of the Executive Mansion Press Corps, Dennise Nimpson lauded Internews and partners for organizing such training for reporters covering the Liberian presidency.
She termed the training as a glorious opportunity for Executive Mansion Reporters, adding that the leadership of EMPC will continue to push to acquire different kinds of training opportunities for reporters assigned at the Mansion.
Nimpson at the same time thanked the facilitators and organizers for the training and supports which she said will improve the media landscape especially EMPC.
Many participants believe that if such training is provided on a regular basis, it will enhance the workings of reporters at the Executive Mansion. Accordingly, they are expected to promote freedom of expression through quality journalism as well as promote freedom of information through the implementation of the FOI Act and increase citizens’ awareness of the FOI Act.
In separate remarks according to them, they will also produce stories focusing on government accountability and further advocate for the government.
The training was conducted between Thursday July 28 to Friday July 29, 2022 and was held at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia.
By: Timothy R. Yoko