The training, which is the second phase, is being rolled out by The Gambia Press Union alongside the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) –Gambia.
The training comes amid surge in information disorder ahead of both the December 4th Presidential and later parliamentary elections.
Welcoming colleagues, Muhammed S. Bah, president of The Gambia Press Union commend WANE- The Gambia for partnering with GPU to conduct such important training.
He described the training as crucial and coming at a time when the country is heading to the polls.
“It is important to note that The Gambia is going through a very crucial moment as the 2021 elections is the most-contested presidential elections since the country become a republic. Twenty-one candidates filed their nominations; fifteen were rejected and some withdrew their intentions and we have the final six. And two or three are going to the court’s for redress. So you can see how crucial this elections is”
GPU president said the campaign proper has started in earnest, adding that politicians are making a lot of remarks with people sending information especially on social media trying to either disinform or misinform the public.
“More often what happens is that they just misinform to score political points. This is why the media comes into play to ensure that the public gets undiluted information; information which is not tainted and fact for people to make informed-decision.”
Bah reminded colleagues of their role in the dissemination of accurate information, further challenging colleagues to up their game to fact-check and debunk inaccurate information.
Also speaking, Sang Mendy, manager Fact-Check-Gambia, who doubles as managing director of Media Academy for Journalism and Communication (MAJaC), said that fact-checking is becoming the new norm in journalism, second to only investigative journalism.
“This is because everyday people make statements and share content that is most likely not true. These contents or statements mostly reach a huge population.”
He said the decision to equip journalists with the right tools to fact-check, set up a platform to publish verified claims and give reporting grant to kick-start the platform is commendable and timely.
“As the manager of Fact-Check Gambia, I would like to say that strong and committed team of editors, researchers, fact-checkers and freelancers to make Fact-Check Gambia a vibrant one in the sub region. We will do our utmost to ensure false claims, images and videos meant to mislead the public are fact-checked and verified. We will partner with on and offline media platforms to amplify our verified content.”
Raniu Alhassan, lead trainer from Ghana, expressed optimism that participants would learn new ideas with intention to become good fact-checkers and to deal with information disorder in The Gambia.
Fact-checking, he added, has come to stay amid digital revolution and the challenges brought up by Covid-19 pandemic.
Momodu Bah, National Early Warning Systems manager at WANEP, on behalf national coordinator WANEP –Gambia expressed gratitude to partner with GPU on this important training.
He indicated that efforts to conduct peaceful and credible elections in the country’s post dictatorial era remain a key focus among institutions in the country.