The Human Rights Journalists Network Nigeria (HRJN) has tasked journalists to comply with the code of ethics and avoid spreading fake news, regardless of any justification they might have.
The media group stated this during a panel discussion it hosted at the 2023 Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF) organized by Paradigm Initiative.
The session titled: ‘FactChecking the Elections: Fake News, Misinformation and Disinformation in the digital era during Nigeria Elections’ discussed the proliferation of fake news in Africa, especially during elections, and how media ownership and personal biases contribute to the spread of fake news.
Kehinde Adegboyega, the Executive Director of HRJN, decried how journalists rely on politicians for information, whereby the journalists publish the information hook line, and sinker.
Adegboyega urged journalists to be ethical and hold it as a responsibility to convey true and factual information to the public at all times.
Peter Kimani, Senior Investigative Data Analyst at Code for Africa, shared that artificial intelligence and social media platforms, including Facebook Ads are being used to generate images and spread misinformation.
Kimani noted that the commercialization of disinformation is a major threat because perpetrators have required funds to design tools to create mis and disinformation.
“There is a tendency to use AI to generate images and content which would make it difficult to spot that they are fake.
“There are more advanced tools that are being used to generate and spread fake news. So there are tools that are being designed to counter them,” he added.
For her part, Doreen Wainainah, Managing Editor at PesaCheck, said it is imperative that social media platforms begin to partner with fact-checking organizations to ensure their platforms are well-equipped and not used as channels to spread fake news.
She also added that “social media ads should be properly monitored and the apps should be demonetized.”
Blessing Oladunjoye, the Publisher of BONews Service who moderated the session, also charged participants against spreading fake news that aligns with their biases, and to also verify any information before sharing them.
The 2023 DRIF session was held in Nairobi, Kenya between April 12 – 14, 2023.