By Bill W. Cooper
A three-day intensive DUBAWA’s fact-checking training for several Liberian journalists has commenced in Monrovia.
The ongoing training under the theme: ‘Stemming the Spread of Misinformation to advance good Governance and Democracy in Liberia” brought face-to-face 22 journalists from the print, broadcast and online platforms including Deputy Information Minister, Boakai Fofana, PTCIL Executive Director, the presidents of the Female Journalist Association of Liberia (FeJAL) and the Reporters Association of Liberia (RAL) among others.
The training which started yesterday at the Murex Plaza in Monrovia, is being organized by the West African fact-checking initiative, DUBAWA, a project of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) is partnering with the Stage Media Liberia (STML) for its implementation into the country.
DUBAWA is a transitional verification and fact-checking platform, initiated by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) in 2018, as it is an independent, transparent and non-partisan and abides with the Code of Principles of the International Fact-checking Network (IFCN) to which it is a signatory.
DUWAWA also aims to institute a culture of truth and verification in public discourse and journalism through strategic partnerships between the media, government, civil society organizations, technology plants and the public.
Serving as keynote speaker, Deputy Information Minister, Boakai Fofana urged participating journalists to constantly strive for self-improvement in the journalism field, as the profession morphs into new spheres of operation.
“Journalism is a hard work. Ages ago, there was only the print media; then there was the advent of radio and television. Now, you’ve got the new media (social media) which poses new challenges to the journalism profession,” Minister Fofana said.
According to him, Liberia has set itself apart for creating a blossoming media environment which continues to flourish and as such, journalists in the Journalism community are now challenged to assume the responsibility of ensuring that their colleagues do their work in a professional and credible manner.
He added, “This has largely been the case. But there remain some bad apples that must be weeded out. Others, however, are simply lacking the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their duties correctly, and that is why the Ministry of Information encourages forums like these which will highlight the plights of journalists in the country with the aim of fixing the many problems they grapple with.”
Earlier, the PTCIJ Executive Director, Dapo Olarunyomi highlighted several challenges that media community is facing amidst the introduction of the social media platform but noted that Liberian Journalists have inspired the west African continent through their respective reportage.
He named sustainability, the transition of media platform and information crisis among others as some of the challenges media institutions/journalists are faced with, adding, “We cannot fully do our respective reportorial duty or perform well as a journalist if we do not stop this problem.”
Explaining the story and promise of DUBAWA, PTCIJ Program Director, Oluwatosin Alagbe said, “We are privileged to be in Liberia to support our peers in executing this training on global information crisis of misinformation and disinformation, and the challenges they pose to democracy, electoral integrity, public health and sound public policy in Liberia.”
She added that the scope of the training will cover accountability journalism, theory and history of fact-checking, as well as the structure and ethics of the practice, alluding, “We expect trainees from the programme to also learn how to muse data and geolocation tools as well as the freedom of information law to reinforce their fact-checking practice.”
DUBAWA’s Fact-Checking Training Kicks Off For Journalists
By Bill W. Cooper