Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has reminded journalists of the need to crosscheck and establish the authenticity of information on social media before publishing as news items.
“It is very worrying to see journalists picking stories from social media and publishing it as the truth. Per the training we all received from our journalism schools we are to always cross-check and double-check all our facts. As professionals, we need not pick stories from social media and publish it as a fact. We must practice double-checking,” she said.
Mrs Asante-Agyei made the remarks on Wednesday during the launch of the GJA-Media Response Virtual Learning Platform held in Accra.
The ceremony was also to award certificates to participants who successfully completed the maiden course on “Journalism, Fake News and Disinformation' on the E-Learning Platform.
The training platform, which was developed by the Media Response, a non-governmental organization in partnership with the GJA is to provide journalists with robust up-to-date training on journalistic ethics and promote professionalism.
The GJA Vice President said the Association was determined to promote responsible journalism hence the initiative, and called on participants to apply the skills and lessons received from the training to stand out.
Mr Samuel Dodoo, Executive Director, Media Response, said one of the challenges that confronted the media in Ghana was lack of continuous training for skills enhancement.
He attributed the situation to the heavy workload the profession carried and urged journalists to make time for regular training.
Mr Dodoo explained that the GJA-Media Response Virtual Learning Platform provided a flexible and friendly learning environment, which enabled participants to study at their own pace without necessarily interrupting their busy schedule or missing out on lessons.
He said the platform was designed not only for the formal sector, but also for the informal population and said in June 2018, his team developed a Learning Management Systems (LMS) for the Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IAST) of the University of Ghana to be used to train farmers in agribusiness and greenhouse technology.
Mr Dodoo urged stakeholders in the media landscape and corporate institutions to visit www.gjamediaresponse.org to enroll on any of the 16 courses currently available on the platform.
He said one did not need to be an information technology inclined to be able to access the platform and that, the multimedia content, as well, as the quizzes and interactive sessions contributed to improve learning outcomes.
Mrs Emma Dzifa Tetteh Tay, a participant, said the training had exposed her and other colleagues to the dangers of fake news and how to identify them through effective fact checking procedures.
She said the knowledge acquired would be used to change the course of the profession and called for an increase in the intake of participants for subsequent training sessions.