Dubawa, a verification and fact-checking organization, has equipped selected non-urban journalists with fact-checking skills to help fight the information disorder crisis in the Ghanaian media ecosystem.
The two-day training workshop, held in Takoradi, and the last in a series of three being organized across the country, was done with support from the United States Embassy in Ghana, and attended by 18 journalists.
The workshop was to arm participants with the requisite knowledge and skills to spot and fact-check published media contents with some elements of inaccuracies.
They were exposed to the information disorder ecosystem and framework of analyzing disinformation, its actors, behaviour and contents, and ethics underpinning the fact-checking practice with some emphasis on the Ghana Journalists’ Association code of ethics and the International Fact-Checking Network code of principles.
Journalists were also lectured on how fact-checking served as a response against information disorder crisis, how to use digital verification tools to detect manipulated contents online, and how they could use the Right to Information (RTI) law to access information from institutions to facilitate their fact-checking processes.
Madam Caroline Anipah, Dubawa Team Lead, in her opening remarks, said media practitioners could be vulnerable to “fake news” in their lines of duty, hence it was imperative to equip them with the necessary knowledge to detect and counter such contents with the accurate information.
She said as journalists, they owed their loyalty to the public and that every information they put out must be factual and in the interest of the public.
Mr Nathan Gadugah, an Editor at Dubawa, said information disorder was taking serious dimensions in the Ghanaian media space, especially in the run up to the 2024 general election.
He said: “We have realized that some people are deliberately mounting disinformation campaigns to distort the information ecosystem, and when that happens, what it means is that the decisions or actions we take will be impaired in every area of our lives.”
He added: “For Instance, as we go into the 2024 elections, we know that political actors who would want to win at all costs will use some of these disinformation tactics to sway public opinions to vote for them.”
Mr Gadugah noted that the training was, therefore, intended to equip journalists with the knowledge to help expose and fight the activities of these disinformation actors to help the citizenry make informed choices based on the right information to better their lives.
Mr Isaac Hughes, a participant, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency, expressed gratitude to Dubawa and its partners for the training, and said it had come at a time where journalists needed it the most.
He said as the 2024 elections approached, political actors would resort to sharing “fake news” to influence the electorates, and that the knowledge acquired would help journalists to subject all claims politicians make to scrutiny to determine whether it was accurate or not.