West Africa Broadcast & Media Academy in collaboration with Enugu Literary Society and the United States consulate have organised a three-day training on fact-checking to curtail the menace of misinformation and fake news in the society.
Media trainer and consultant, Mr Ken Okere said Young Nigerians need to equip themselves with fact-checking skills to curb the menace.
“We need to quickly put up training such as this all over the country.
We need to set up media literacy clubs everywhere in primary, secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
All organizations need to help organise these kinds of training because people would only change their behaviour when they know the importance of fact-checking.
But right now, it is an unconscious habit which is causing harm”, Mr Okere explained.
The Media trainer said at no time in history has humanity had this level of means of communication-powered by the internet.
“Those who have terrible agenda for the people now leverage on it to cause intense and immense harm”.
Mr Okere harped on the fact that young people make up more than 65% of the population, which employ social media and digital media, hence the need to deepen relevant media literacy to combat the menace of misinformation online.
“The focus on young people is because they are the most active users of social media and digital tools of communication”.
“It’s important to catch them young so they can understand and accept personal responsibility for what they share,” Okere added.
On his part, the United States Consulate General, Public Affairs Officer in Lagos, Mr Steven Ibeli believes that media literacy will help to fight fake news, especially in the country.
” As we see the rise of social media, we have unfortunately also seen the rise of misinformation and fake news.
It is very difficult to call out every single fake story or every single opinion and so media literacy is at the core of really giving the power to the individual to differentiate or detect a fact from an opinion, what fake news is, what is an unreal photo or a photo, which is still being used today from ten years ago or from 5 years ago”, he said.
On why the US consulate is partnering with West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy to train young Nigerians on media literacy, Mr Ibeli said 70% of Nigeria’s population fall under the age of 30, which are social media active users, and so it is really important to equip them with practical skills for fact or authentic fact-checking.
” In media literacy, you have to learn the basic media literacy and the advanced media literacy.
For example, there are sites on the internet where you can check facts.
There are also many sites on the internet where you can take a photo and get data from the photo to make sure it is actually a real photo or the photo from the time of reporting,” Mr Ibeli added.
The three-day training had young students from various universities across Nigeria because of their unlimited access to the internet.
Young Nigerians undergo fact-checking training to curtail online misinformation