Cameroon:Media practitioners empowered with fact-checking tools to fight fake news

Over fifty media practitioners drawn from Douala and Yaounde have been empowered with the various tools to help fight the…

Over fifty media practitioners drawn from Douala and Yaounde have been empowered with the various tools to help fight the propagation of fake news.

During a training workshop held in Yaounde on Saturday October 19, Journalists, bloggers and other communication actors explored various ways of fighting the propogation of fake news in a landscape characterized by the rise of the digital and social media.

Organised by the Goethe Institute, the workshop focused on the various ways of verifying and authenticating news element such as videos, pictures and other facts that could distort a story.

« We think fake news and the propagation of false information is constantly on the rise especially with the social media and we think it is the duty of media practitioners to be equipped with the basic tools to help fact-check information which could be misleading, » Jules Kotche, head of Information and Library at the Goethe Institute said.

For close to sight hours, participants were drilled by Valdez Onanina, a researcher from Africa Check, a fact- checking media based in Dakar with branches in other African countries.

« Fact checking is born out of the need for constant information in an ever-growing democratic environment polluted by false information to drive home an agenda, » Valdez Onanina said.

It is therefore imperative for media practitioners to check, cross check and fact check published information which they intend to use.

After using tools like like Google Photos, Yandex,Tineye, Invid and Youtube data viewer to verify pictures and videos used in an article, the participants were then drilled on the various techniques and procedures involved in writing a fact-checking article.

« Before today, I did not know how to go about cross-checking a doubtful picture that published on social media that could mislead the public. But leaving here with these tools, I will be very conscious with such pictures aimed at manipulating public information, » Amos Muang Nsang, journalist at Magic FM said.

Participants were also schooled on the difference as well and relationship betwwen fact-checking and investigative journalism and how both could be used to clarify public opinion.

« I can now make the difference between fact checking and investigative journalism. Fact checking was a bit alien to me in the past but I have learnt the various techniques to fact check and look forward to blending it with my investigative skills for better reporting, » Elise Kenimbeni, freelance journalist with special interest in digital journalism said.