Journalists must invest in digital fact-checking tools for authentic news – Maud Elliot

Mrs Maud Adjeley Ashong Elliot, a Lecturer in the Information Technology (IT) Department at the University of Professional Studies, has emphasized the importance of journalists investing in digital fact-checking tools to ensure the authenticity of their news.

Speaking at a Digital Literacy and Skills training workshop in , organized by the (MFWA) with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands for female journalists, Mrs Ashong Elliot highlighted that information shared on the internet remains accessible indefinitely, making it crucial for journalists to ensure the accuracy of their content.

The workshop aimed to empower women with the skills to effectively utilize the internet and digital tools in their work, thereby improving their professional lives and online safety.

Recent statistics indicate that approximately 4.74 billion people, constituting 75 per cent of the global population, are active users. However, women comprise 48 per cent of internet users worldwide, slightly lower than the 50 per cent of men who use the internet.

In Ghana, as of the beginning of 2023, 6.30 million individuals aged 18 and above were active social media users. Among these users, 40.5 per cent were female, while the remaining 59.5 per cent were male.

Mrs Ashong Elliot, who also serves as the Vice President of the Internet Society, Ghana Chapter, drew attention to the prevalence of misinformation during pandemics and elections, which can generate fear, and panic, and disrupt social harmony while undermining political processes.

She stressed the necessity for journalists to adapt to emerging technologies, such as (AI), in order to facilitate their work. “We have to get used to it because it is here,” stated the Lecturer.

Mrs Ashong Elliot further explained that AI technology could assist in various ways, including detecting and flagging suspicious content, identifying patterns of misinformation, and verifying news sources.

She emphasized the importance of raising awareness and educating individuals about online abuse, while also advocating for the reinforcement of platform policies and their enforcement.

Additionally, she urged journalists to encourage the public to report all forms of online abuse and to support and empower victims.

Addressing the digital gender divide, Madam Vivian Affoah, the Programme Manager for Digital Rights at the Media Foundation for , expressed concern over the higher number of men using the internet compared to women, particularly in rural areas.

She highlighted the prevalent issue of bullying, abuse, and harassment faced by women online, which often deters them from engaging with social media platforms.

The Media Foundation for West Africa, an international Non-Governmental Organization established in 1997, is dedicated to defending and promoting media rights and freedom of expression

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