MCK, UNDP launch fact-checking tool to counter fake news

MCK, UNDP launch fact-checking tool to counter fake news

BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,2ND JULY,2022-The Media Council of Kenya and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kenya have launched a fact-checking platform to address the escalating fake news.

The tool will be rolled out to media houses across Kenya.

The iVerify Network of Fact-Checking Desks will provide an avenue for enhanced cooperation around verification of information while encouraging collaboration of actors.

It is rooted in the shared ambition of the Media Council of Kenya and UNDP to bridge the gap between the news and fact-checking cycle to enhance responsible and professional reporting ahead of and beyond the August 2022 General Election.

Principal Secretary, State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Esther Koimett lauded the initiative for its timeliness in safeguarding the integrity of information especially during the electioneering period.

“The campaigns have seen an explosion of disinformation, misinformation and hate speech especially at political rallies. We believe that the iVerify platform will assist to restore law and order on the use of social media in sharing accurate and balanced information”, noted Koimett at the launch in Nairobi Friday.

Koimett lauded the Council for training 71 Media Monitors who will participate in real time fact checking of information, saying this will assist in pinpointing occurrences of fake news in various forms of media.

 

To actualise the fact-checking tool, I am pleased to note that the Media Monitors at the MCK are well trained on fact-checking and are mandated to pinpoint occurrences from online platforms and report via various platforms, including the new iVerify that we are launching today”, she said

She pledged the Ministry’s support to the initiative and called for collective efforts towards addressing fake news.

“The Ministry acknowledges these efforts, and we will support in any way required of us. As the people in charge of ICT, it is important that we see to it that information integrity is fully restored, and that the social media space is used responsible”, said the PS.

MCK CEO David Omwoyo said journalists play an important role in conveying information and added that it was imperative that they are equipped with the tools for spotting and debunking fake news.

“Journalists are the first point of call when people are looking for information. It is important to ensure that they acquire the right skills to expose fake news, including political propaganda and to aid in stopping the cycle of misinformation and disinformation”, said Omwoyo

Omwoyo urged journalists to make use of the iVerify platform to confirm the accuracy of information before sharing it. He said that efforts around success of the project would require stakeholder collaboration to ensure professional reporting on facts.

“We are engaging several stakeholders to drive the fact-checking agenda to ensure professional reporting that is hinged on facts. We have trained our staff across the country, and we will be at hand to support media workers countrywide through capacity building on fact-checking.”

Dan Juma, UNDP Team Leader for Governance and Inclusive Growth appreciated the Council for spearheading the initiative in Kenya making it the second African country to use the platform during the election period.

“I laud the Council for spearheading fact-checking in Kenya and promoting professionalism in Kenya’s media. We will continue supporting the initiative through our partnership with the Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance and UNDP Kenya”, he said.

The initiative is being supported by UNDP’s Deepening Democracy Project (DDP) through the provision of the iVerify platform (implemented in country by the European Commission-UNDP Joint Task Force (JTF) on Electoral Assistance and UNDP Chief Digital Office (CDO).

The iVerify platform is hinged on three major objectives namely, identification of disinformation, misinformation and hate speech, fact checking and publishing of checked reports and coordinating responses through a multi-stakeholder approach to mitigate threats to information integrity.

 

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