Journalists celebrate, look forward to using newly acquired fact-checking skills
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Charles Kombe, 26, a correspondent for Voice of America in Tanzania, has worked as a journalist for 5 years. However, he thinks that his recent participation in training on fact-checking will greatly improve his work.
“It [the training] has greatly improved my verification skills,” he said. “It sounds surreal ...that one can verify information using Google images. I am confident that now I can share information to the public that is accurate due to the skills I acquired from the training, by using tools like TinEye reverse image search, Invid and so on.”
The training, which was conducted online from 25th to 27th November, 2020 by Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF) in collaboration with Nukta Africa, ran for three days and had 10 participating journalists from Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, Mara, Tabora, Geita and Njombe.
According to TMF’s Interim Executive Director, Fausta Musokwa, the training will enable journalists to produce high quality and accurate stories which is in line with the organisation’s mission to promote public interest journalism.
“TMF organised the training with funding and support from DW Akademie, under our 2020 to 2021 partnership to enhance media viability and innovation in the media landscape in Tanzania,” said Musokwa.
“We hope to see the media sector in Tanzania embrace and apply new fact-checking skills more actively to overcome misinformation, disinformation and malinformation. This will in turn enhance its role in working for public interest.”
Journalists have a key role to play in addressing misinformation, disinformation and malinformation, which are becoming an increasing problem in Tanzania. The fast circulation of false or misleading information, especially through social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on blogs and even from mainstream media outlets like newspapers means journalists need to regularly develop new fact checking skills to keep up.
TMF is keen to be part of efforts to address media sector challenges and will continue to support the 10 journalists who took part in the training to become champions for the fact-checking and verification of information.
Nuzulack Dausen, CEO and Executive Director of Nukta Africa, which designed the course content and delivered the training, lauded the TMF administration for its efforts. Nukta Africa also runs Nukta Fakti, a Facebook-based Swahili-language platform for fact-checking.
“TMF’s investment in fact checking training and mentorship programs will help to equip journalists with skills on how to identify, research and debunk the ever growing fake news in the world. We are certainly sure that this initiative is planting a seed among media professionals and the general public on verifying information before sharing on social media.”
Daniel Mwingira, a fact checking trainer at Nukta Africa says he is optimistic that the training will have a positive impact on the participants.
“We thank TMF for funding the training, and hope that the trained champions will reach out to and share the knowledge with fellow journalists.”
Vivian Pyuza, a news editor from CG FM radio in Tabora said that the programme will enable her to share the knowledge she gained with her colleagues.
“I wish to see such training conducted continuously especially to us [fact-checking] champions to enrich our capacities.”
TMF’s vision is of a vibrant, independent, responsible and diverse media sector in Tanzania, that serves public interest. Over the next three years, TMF will support the production of high quality public interest journalism that promotes accountability, enable citizens to use the media to engage with each other and with duty bearers regarding their priorities, perspectives and interests and influencing development and media sector actors learning, innovating and creating solutions to sector viability challenges. Promotion of fact-checking is one of the key activities in TMF’s 2020 to 2023 strategic plan, whose implementation is underway.