By Simeon OSAJIE
Correspondents Chapel of the Edo State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has trained members on use of technologies to counter misinformation and fake news ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Declaring the training open, Chairman of the Edo State Council of NUJ, Mr. Festus Alenkhe, commended the leadership of the chapel for deeming it wise to organize the workshop.
It described the training as timely and apt as it would arm members on how to debunk information disorder that always characterized election period in the country.
Alenkhe, however, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to train journalists ahead of the general poll, particularly as it regards verification of results.
Earlier, in her address, Chairman of the Correspondents chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu, said the leadership intent was to build the capacity of members to be able to deploy it to counter misinformation that is prevalent on the social media platforms.
“There is no doubt that opportunities are now abound in technological innovations, hence these can be used to verify and counter fake news, during electoral process.
“Studies have shown that in recent time, technologies have helped to unravel the truth behind some controversial issues in the Nigeria’s political space.
“Just a few weeks ago, news about the purported two months extension of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made rounds the major newspapers, including platforms that have built their reputation and credibility over the years.
“The report was, however, later found to be untrue.
“Unfortunately, no matter how close it is and how “credible” the platform that reported it is, as far as it’s untrue, its tagged as fake news,” she said.
Mrs. Yakubu added that election periods were usually engulfed with fake and unconfirmed news reports, which had the tendency of jeopardizing the processes.
She cited scenarios where individuals and groups used their social media platforms to peddle fake news around electoral processes, malpractices, electoral violence and even fake election results, thereby undermining the process.
According to her, every member will be expected to begin to take additional steps to verify the veracity of information at his disposal, using various fact-checking tools.
The facilitator, Mr. Dare Akogun, who is a 2021 Fellow of Dubawa Fack-Checking tutored the participants on open sourcing and various ways viral information can be verified to either confirm or debunk.