Journalists in Nigeria have been given reasons why their reports must influence informed decisions by the people in their daily activities.
This is also as they have been advised to use modern technology to fact check stories before publishing to avoid carriage of fake news, misinformation and disinformation that will cause fears, tension and crisis in the society.
This advise was given at the day one of a two day workshop organised by International Press Centre (IPC) in conjunction with United Nations Development Fund UNDP , with the theme: Capacity building on use of iverify and fact checking for some selected journalists from kogi state, held at the Hawthorn Hotel , Garki 2 Abuja.
Mathew Alao, a representative of UNDP in a key note address urged journalists to develop passion and commitment to the profession and work hard to be the best practitioner with accurate reportage that will alter and recreate the perception of the citizenry to the country.
Alao who noted that the Journalism professionalism is a call for sacrifice and responsibility, noted thay it has become imperative for Journalists to adhere to the ethics when dishing out stories.
He added that the issue of accuracy and fact checking is more of interest now in order to promote electoral integrity, particularly the forthcoming off-cycle governorship election in kogi state.
The UNDP representative further charged Journalists and all others in the field of news dissemination to provide relevant information for the audience to make best decisions about their lives, their communities and about their government that would make them a better citizens.
According to him” Our business is to find answers to questions and question the answers about the society. We should, if we must excel in our chosen field to have attitude of holding back our biases , by asking questions until there are no more questions to ask.
” Our society may not have been doing too well, it is because we are not making our stories and reports to connect to the people. When our reports made the people our central concern, most of the societal problems would be solved. Our society is undergoing stress, hence , every one is trying to cope, but my message for journalists is to avoid collecting money that will make them miserable in their privacy. He warned.
While delivering a lecture on fact checking of information to promote electoral integrity, David Ajikobi, Editor, Africa Check, noted that the purpose of fact checking is to make the story transparent and eliminate debris of misinformation, disinformation and fake news which have the potential to affect peaceful elections.
He urge journalists to distinguish personal bias, and opinions from facts, saying this will instil confidence of the audience in a report.
While calling on Journalists covering election to be mindful of the antics of politicians who would stop at nothing in using everything within their disposal to woo voters, said every statement should be subjected to fact check to ensure that the story is error proof.