Public losing trust in media due to misinformation, fake news – Information Minister

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has attributed the decreasing trust in the media by the populace to misinformation.

According to the minister, trust in the media for some time has suffered a hitch per reports from afrobarometer due to misinformation by some media practitioners. 

• Mr Femi Falana (inset) speaking at the
conference.

Speaking virtually at the 5th Edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) in Accra yesterday, he said the only way to win public trust was for them to fact-check their information to ensure credibility, accuracy and reliability, to combat fake news.

The event held on the theme: “Misinformation, digital media regulation and journalism in Africa,” brought together media practitioners from different West African countries. 

It was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) with focus on positioning the media as key actors and supporters of democratic consolidation and national development in the sub region.

Elaborating on the theme, Mr Nkrumah explained that misinformation, digital media regulations and journalism in Africa, were three important pillars when looked at could restore the trust in the media, and also promote national development.

He noted that the increasing rate of the use of digital media has had its toll on mainstream media, as media practitioners fail to verify their information before publication thus ignoring the basic ethics of the profession. 

He noted that as way of ensuring that media practitioners adhered to the ethics of the profession, government had rolled out a media capacity enhancement programme which seeks to provide training for media practitioners.

He, however, urged media practitioners in Ghana and Africa as a whole to exhibit a sense of diligence in their profession in order to regain the trust the populace have in them.

Mr Femi Falana, a legal practitioner and senior advocate of Nigeria, bemoaned the unfair treatment journalists in West Africa were subjected to, which tend to violate their right of press freedom as stipulated in the constitution of these countries.

Mr Falana, noted that the emergence of coups in some of the West African countries in recent times was a treat to the freedom of the media which was not encouraging.

He, however, commended the Government of Ghana, led by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his great effort in making sure the freedom of the media was held in high esteem, thereby, promoting good governance.

He further urged journalists in West Africa to uphold the ethics of the profession, and also expose fake news sites.

Mr Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of MFWA, in his submission said the upsurge of information disorder, through disinformation and misinformation, posed a damaging challenge for public policy making, responsible journalism, and communal harmony in most communities, therefore the need for the media to get out of their comfort zones to verify information for truthfulness to ensure national unity, cohesion and holistic development

BY BENEDICTA FOLLEY

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