MONROVIA-Dapo Olorunyomi, Executive Director of Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (ptcij) says the media is currently facing an information crisis which is largely attributed to the result of fake news coupled with digital transition.
According to Olorunyomi, the business model upon which the media was established, has changed. Not only that, but also, due to digital transition and until media managers are able to understand this, the media will continue to be in a sorrowful state.
Speaking Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at the opening of a-four-day fact-checking training in Monrovia, the ptcij Chief says information crisis (fake news) is not only unique to Liberia, but is something that is affecting the world over.
He asserted that the situation is even worse in Nigeria to the extent that barely ten media institutions are able to pay their staff, while some are owing the employees up to ten months’ salaries.
Olorunyomi noted that the current structural crisis the media is faced with can only be changed through sustainability that is when the media is financially potent to operate independently.
“Understanding digital transition is critical but managers had not been able to understand and there is crisis in information communication which officials term as fake news; this is also part of digital transition. If this is solved, than we can be able to stop some of the issues that affect the way media should operate.”
At the same time, the Executive Director of the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Malcom Joseph expressed happiness that such training on countering fake news is taking place in Liberia where journalists will be knowledgeable about facts checking information as it is something new.
Mr. Joseph encouraged journalists to take advantage of the training so as to do away with what he termed as “had said” thus going beyond the information and do a fact check.
He mentioned the FOI law as one tool that will help trainees to do better with respect to facts checking information noting that the law has been rated as the fifth best law in the world.
Subsequently; the head of the Mass Communication Department at the University of Liberia, Euriahs Togar stressed the need to institutionalize the program in order to achieve its long lasting impact.
Togar said the university takes seriously the issue of fake news as it has serious consequences.
According to him, the country is vulnerable on grounds that journalists are not trained when it comes to countering fake news noting “some journalists go on social media to get news tip while others go there to get direct news without considering the circumstance.”