Experts task journalists on fact-checking
Experts have called on journalists to always double-check their facts from independent sources before publication.
They gave the charge during a panel discussion, organised by Media Career Development Network, in collaboration with the United States Consulate General to mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day in Lagos.
Addressing the theme, Journalism Under Digital Siege, The Guardian’s Editorial Page Editor, Kunle Sanyaolu, stressed that journalists must do a follow-up on breaking news to avoid publishing fake news
He urged reporters to, always, verify and ascertain their facts for balanced story and differentiate facts from fiction.
Sanyaolu said: “Journalists have a duty to the society, hence they must have a way to balance government reluctance, heal themselves from urgency to break news. It is better to publish late than publishing what is not true.”
Ex-Online Editor of the Punch newspapers, Adesola Ayo-Aderele, advised reporters to be smart when sourcing for information, urging media literacy
She urged the practitioners to be wary of sources like bloggers and fact-check information or data and be slow to comment on issues relating to the government for the integrity of their media outfits.
Also, Director, Digital Media Research Centre, Lagos State University, Dr. Tunde Akanni, pointed out that the Internet had made research easier for journalists, imploring media practitioners not to rely on Wikipedia because “it is editable by anyone.”
Gatekeeping starts with reporters, hence they should scrutinise details before filing their reports and the journey of scrutinising continues with the editor. Reporters must fact-check their reports before publishing,” he appealed.
In his contribution, founder of Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), Fisayo Soyombo, tasked journalists with reporting based on facts and investigations.