The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding has concluded a day fact-checking workshop for journalists on COVID-19 Fake News in Monrovia.
With support from the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Monrovia, under the project “Building the Capacity of Journalists to stand above COVID 19 fake News Dissemination”, the workshop was the third and final training for Liberian Journalists aimed at curtailing fake news around COVID-19.
The First workshop was held in Ganta , Nimba county with 20 community radio journalists from Nimba and Bong counties which was followed by a second training workshop in Buchanan city, that also brought together 20 community radio journalists from Grand Bassa and Margibi counties.
Speaking at the opening of the event held on January 27, 2021 at the ICampuc conference hall, on Carey Street, Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding Executive Director Malcolm Joseph said, the third workshop is specifically designed for Monrovia based journalists.
According to him, CEMESP has “assembled for you one of Liberia’s best media trainer if not the best in person of Mr. Frank Sainworla who will serve as the lead facilitator”
Mr. Sainworla, he explained was assisted by another experienced Media trainer Mr. Klonieous Blamo “of CEMESP.
The project according to Mr Joseph seeks to promote information dissemination and integrity around COVID-19.
This CEMEPS believes the workshop can help to enhance media professionalism that negates fake news.
“We are entirely grateful to the Embassy of the United Kingdom for this support”, Malcolm added, continuing that “this training like the previous ones is intended to improve the quality of COVID-19 reporting with best practices in health reporting, the media response to rumors and misinformation on the pandemic, facts checking, and ethical principles for journalism practice in Liberia”.
He furthered that with the expertise of media trainers at the workshop, “I can guarantee that the two days of training will be rewarding”.
He emphasized that the project does not end with the conduct of the three workshops across the country.
“A second phase will deal with monitoring of COVID-19 reportage of all the sixty trained journalists to ensure the proper use of the knowledge acquired from the trainings” he said.
In the end, Mr. Joseph said, CEMESP will organize a national forum to honor, recognize, and certificate those journalists that would have performed exceptionally in reporting balance and accurate information on COVID 19.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread lockdowns across the world in 2020. With billions of people in Liberia and world over stuck at home, people have increasingly turned to social media, which is playing a pivotal role in the spread of misinformation due to limited policing.
Countries like Liberia with high illiteracy rate have and continue to struggle with misinformation that in part, has hampered efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
The UK Embassy sponsored COVID-19 facts check trainings are coordinated by Miss Ruth Gbato, a Program Assistant at the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding.
CEMESP emphasized that she is grateful to the Embassy of the United Kingdom to Liberia for providing the funding support to enhance the capacity of the Liberian media through such initiative.