The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, on Tuesday, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to expand the capabilities of journalists in checking election results real-time on the viewing portal that was recently introduced by the commission.
Festus Alenkhe, chairman of NUJ, Edo State council, made the remarks at a three-day capacity building program, titled, “Fact-checking information “, organised by the correspondents’ chapel of the union in Benin City.
Alenkhe held that strengthening the skills of journalists to access election results uploaded from various polling units ahead of the general elections would go a long way to ensuring accurate results are reported by media platforms so as to limit false information circulated to deceive members of the public.
“We should painstakingly verify most of our reports. This is why I want to request INEC to try as much as possible to liaise with the Edo State council of NUJ to train journalists ahead of the 2023 general elections. We want to be trained in the area of results because most times, the results we see on the internet are fake.
“We have our own information but we want to be trained officially by INEC on how the results will be released in 2023. The aim is to enable us go to the site and get the right results so as to reduce wrong information,” Alenkhe said.
Earlier, Nefishetu Yakubu, Edo State chairman, correspondents’ chapel of NUJ, urged members to be conversant with technology to check fake news, especially before, during and after the 2023 election period.
“In this era of misinformation, it is the intention of the chapel executives to build the capacity of members on how to deploy technologies to counter fake news that are more pervasive particularly on our social media than ever. There is no doubt that opportunities are now abound in technological innovations, hence these can be used to verify and counter fake news, particularly during electoral process.
“Ahead the 2023 general elections, it has become necessary to arm journalists with fact-checking tools to expose a series of misleading false information, which may be doctored to misinform the public,” Yakubu said.
Speaking on the title, Dare Akogun, the resource person, explained that fact-checking is the process of reverifying information with the intent of determining its correctness, noting that the tool has become relevant because of the rising level of misinformation being peddled through the social media.
Akogun stressed the need for journalists to separate facts from lies, verify assertions and check accuracy before going to press so as to avoid the lack of credibility of media organisations.
“People trust your imagination as a journalist and they depend on you for accurate information. So, whatever you put out there should be fact with evidence. Since the 80s, when technology started evolving from analogue to digital, the world of information sharing has consistently evolved.
“With digitisation, comes plurality of media sources. In this age of fake news, everyone who come in contact with information now have the capacity of consuming and, at the same time, producing the news through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik tok,” Akogun said.
He, therefore, identified reverse image search, Yandex, Google, Bing, Tineye as some of the tools journalists can apply to verify images in order to determine the authenticity of information shared through photos.