Thirty five journalists trained on fact checking to avoid misinformation

By Nema Juma

More than thirty journalists have been trained on fact checking news and information, in a move to mitigate misinformation/disinformation which aids the spread of hate speech both online and offline.

The training which was divided into phases, Cohort 1 and 2 was organized by #Defyhatenow in collaboration with United Nations Development Program and Africa Check – a continental fact checking organization. 

While Speaking to Juba Monitor after the training, one of the Participants Bidali Samson revealed that the training helped him understand procedures used to fact check news stories.

“Personally, the training was very great, vital and was held at the right time. What amazed I most are tools and applications a journalist can use to fact check pictures, stories, videos and websites. There were websites, Facebook pages and twitter handles that I thought were trusted. But when we use those applications to fact check them, they are fake and can lead a journalist to relying or sharing wrong information,” said Samson.

For her part, Sarah Kiko, a member of South Sudan’s Female Journalist Forum stated that the training was practical in a manner that the skills can easily be applied without guidance.

“The most important thing about this training that I can confess it was really practical. The skills and applications can easily be used compared to other training where theory sessions dominate the whole training. At least I can personally fact check any content online before writing or sharing it on my personal social media page or in the news items” said Sarah.

Meanwhile, one of the Managing Editors Charles Lotara described the training as vigorous, particularly for news editors who are mostly final door openers for news or information.

“A person like myself has added a lot of crucial skills into my media career. I used to think I know how to verify facts but when I got myself into this training, I found very strange things. These include the applications, methods and procedures a journalist, blogger or content creator can used to produce information that is quality for public consumption,” Charles said.

Vincent Ng’ethe, a trainer Africa Check who facilitated the training said with the skills learned, he hopes to hear good stories from South Sudan regarding fact checking. 

“As a trainer, the training has been very fantastic. Very many things came up that allows us to see fact checking in a new way, especially the media environmental context of South Sudan.  I am hopeful that trainees will use the knowledge gained to produce work that is going to be relevant and lasting,” said Vincent.

According to cyber experts, since the eruption of civil war in 2013, South Sudan has been immersed by wide spread of hate speech or misinformation/disinformation both online and offline. But Article 29 of the 2013 Media Authority Act, labels hate speech punishable by a prison term of up to five years if established to be of serious damage.

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