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Fake news eroding people’s trust in media- experts

By Wilson Manishimwe

Added 26th February 2019 12:01 PM

Conducted on 126,000 rumours and false news spread on twitter over a period of 11 years, the study also found out that fake news travelled faster and reached more people than truth news stories.

Gilbertsendugwatheexecutivedirectorafricafreedomofinformationcentreaficleftchatswithoneoftheparticipantsattheworkshop 703x422

Gilbert-Sendugwa,the executive-director-Africa-Freedom-of-Information-Centre-(AFIC)-(left)-chats-with-one-of-the-participants at the workshop.(Photo by Wilson Manishiimwe)

Conducted on 126,000 rumours and false news spread on twitter over a period of 11 years, the study also found out that fake news travelled faster and reached more people than truth news stories.

The growing trends of circulation of fake news in Uganda and worldwide is eroding people’s trust in the traditional media, experts have said.

They argued that media stakeholders and government should join hands in the fight against fake news.

Dr. Sam Kamau, a lecturer at Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications said in this era technology competes with researched and authoritative news.

He said there is a diminishing value of truth and facts have been declining for a couple of years because people are able to create their own version of truth.

“The production of fake news is often done with financial, political or social motivation. It is created either to influence people’s views, push a political agenda or cause confusion and can often be political business for online publishers,” said Kamau.

He was speaking during the media engagement training workshop organised by Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in collaboration with Africa Check and Aga Khan University.

The workshop took place at Fairway Hotel on Friday last week.

  ganda edia entre executive director fwono pondo talks to one of the workshop facilitators Uganda Media Centre executive, director Ofwono Opondo talks to one of the workshop facilitators

 

Kamau said there’s an increased sophistication in which fake news is spread.

A study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year indicated that fake news was more retweeted by humans than bots.

Conducted on 126,000 rumours and false news spread on twitter over a period of 11 years, the study also found out that fake news travelled faster and reached more people than truth news stories.

Ofwono Opondo, the Uganda Media Centre executive director said traditional media has effective gate keeping which social/online media doesn’t have. He said traditional media must put in place more mechanism to ensure that they don’t follow temptation of falling for quick news.

“Unfortunately some mainstream newspapers, television in the attempt to struggle for space have fallen victims of spreading fake news. Continuous training, checks on media teams so that they aren’t tempted to run fake stories,” said Opondo.

Gilbert Sendugwa, the executive director Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) explained that sections of individuals holding high offices hold information which creates a vacuum that people with fake news ride on.

“Journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) should know that public need information but because of fake news, the people don’t trust information they get and therefore the society gets misinformed,” said Sendugwa.

He added:  “Even when media houses give factual news; because of fake news, people don’t trust them. When officials are communicating, the  public don’t trust them because they have heard something which is fake.”

 

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