Media Urged To Help Citizens Verify Fake News

Media Urged To Help Citizens Verify Fake News

(R to L) Alphonce Shiundu, Kenya Editor, Africa Check explains his findings on fake news to Carole Kimutai, Managing Editor, Digital at the Standard Group; Vincent Ng’ethe, Digital Editor, Daily Nation and Dr. Nancy Booker, Assistant Professor, Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC) during the Verification and Fact-Checking Roundtable discussions held at GSMC campus in Nairobi.



NAIROBI, JULY 2017:  The Aga Khan University School of Media and Communications (GSMC), supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) hosted the second of three roundtables themed, ‘Verification and Fact-Checking in Kenya’s 2017 Elections,’ on Thursday, July 27th 2017 at the GSMC campus in Westlands. This is meant to provide the media with fresh insights to help them distinguish between real and fake news, meaningful discussions and manufactured debates.

The roundtable brought together key stakeholders including policymakers and academia with a commitment to ensuring fair media coverage of the Kenya 2017 elections, with particular emphasis on fake news.

The deliberations are expected to influence and chart the way forward in addressing verification and fact-checking in the media and more so during this election period. These discussions come at a time when fake news is a pervasive problem surrounding the Kenyan elections and the media space at large.

Dr. Nancy Booker, Assistant Professor at GSMC emphasized the role the media should play towards helping citizens verify fake news. “The media by the very nature of its mandate to the society cannot be proponents of fake news. We must practice the act of double- sourcing, counter-checking and creating balanced stories,” she said. She further emphasized the need for the media to sensitize and equip news consumers with basic tools on how to verify news, specifically on social media where fake news is propagated.

Alphonce Shiundu, who is the Kenya Editor for Africa Check also urged the media to exercise accuracy in reporting stories especially during the Kenyan elections. “Journalists should get real expert sources, and double check their facts to ensure fair and unbiased coverage of candidates,” he said.

The roundtables have seen GSMC support a wider vision as it engages various stakeholders. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 4 puts emphasis on inclusive and quality education for all and the promotion of lifelong learning. In support of the Kenya Vision 2030 also, GSMC continues to invest in the improvement of the quality of media practitioners through its programs, some of which are designed specifically for the media fraternity. It is committed to keeping the knowledge discourse alive among media practitioners, and in so doing hopes to help contribute to quality training and nurturing of seasoned media practitioners.

Other speakers at the event were Mark Kaigwa, (Founder, Nendo), Carole Kimutai, (Managing Editor, Digital at the Standard Group) and Vincent Ng’ethe, (Digital Editor, Daily Nation).