Initiatives for Media Development (IM Dev) last Saturday launched the Fact Checker Toolkit for Journalists at the Hotel Cabenda. Launching the toolkit, the Minister of Information and Communications Mohamed Rahman Swaray said he is happy for the launch as it is very correct for such an organization to help journalists produce facts as news rather than subjective views and fake news. “Combating fake news is a positive way to make the media viable, objective and factual. You are the gatekeepers and people believe in you, so when you publish or air news through the radio and TV, it must be the truth and people must rely on you for the truth. It is for that reason that we are going to repeal the Libel Law and make sure that every media official will be able to crosscheck to get the facts before publishing.” Marcela Samba Sesay of Campaign for Good Governance said it was the CSOs that started fact checking in the democratic dispensation in the country. She said every side must be heard and the truth must be heard for all sides. Opinion, perception and fact are difficult to make a distinction and with this fact checker they would be able to get the correct news out to the public for all to understand.
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Secretary General of SLAJ Asmieu Bah said they have been advocating to their members not to post on whatsapp what you will not print in the papers or say over the radio and TV. He said they are putting together a very strong disciplinary committee to make sure that members who default will be reprimanded. He called on the government to repeal the criminal libel as it is affecting the industry. The Principal goal of the Salone Fact Checker project was to provide a platform for Fact Checking news and information widely spread on social media platform. The objectives of the project were achieved through: Closely monitoring news and other information posted on social media platforms such as Facebook and Watsapp. The identification and investigation of the facts posted on social media platform and re-written with an ethical lens and posted on the same platforms. Salone Fact Check operated in a similar mode to that of Politifact owned by the non-profit Poynter Institute for Media Studies program in United States. The report says trending stories on social media were reviewed every week, investigated and rewritten with an evidenced based reporting style and shared widely on social media.
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