MBARARA, December 15, 2023 – Journalists in Greater Mbarara have been urged to use new digital applications available to determine whether the information given to them is fake or factual, before publishing it.
The call was made on Wednesday during a regional training facilitated by Uganda Radio Network [URN] and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives [CFLI]. The training which took place at Adit Conference Centre focused on fake news and public affairs reporting.
The training was attended by news reporters, editors, talk show hosts, producers, and social media handlers for local media houses in the region.
While speaking to the journalists, Ahmed Wetaka, URN editor in charge of Kampala bureau, said journalists are currently facing tough times as they face human rights abuses such as torture.
“You’ve seen how journalists are brutally attacked while in the field. Go to human rights defenders, go to court and see how cases are piled up there, with justice yet to prevail,” he said.
He said as the country prepares for another cycle of elections, mistreatment of journalists is going to increase. “I remind fellow journalists to be mindful and careful when executing their work,” he said.
For the news to be credible, Wetaka advised journalists to always reach at the scene and verify the information other than relying on social media and hearsay.
“There is a tendency today where most journalists sit in the newsrooms and wait for agencies and institutions’ press releases. Others trust information, videos and photos sent to them by colleagues to publish without verifying the authenticity of such information, which is very dangerous,” Wetaka explained.
He also appealed to journalists to avoid being courted by government officials but instead hold them accountable.
Meanwhile, Flavia Nasaka, senior health reporter URN said that, “Journalists have faced trumped up charges and the only way of jumping out of such is by producing evidence.” She encouraged journalists to always use innovative apps to identify fake information.
Some of the fact checking repository tools used to detect fake news and photos include; artificial intelligence [AI] image detector, dupli-checker, pesacheck.org, photo forensic, chart GTP, Google street view, perma, yandex, tin eye among others.
She said that the mushrooming of social media and bloggers has ruined traditional media.
“Today, traditional media has been overpowered by social media and blogging, so the best way is for journalists to investigate deeply about the matters and issues that happen in our societies other than running to break stories.
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