Countering disinformation: US diplomat underlines importance of fact-checking by journos

The conference was organised jointly by the Osmania University department of journalism and mass communication and the US Consulate General Hyderabad at the CFRD building on the OU campus on 9 July.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  9 July 2022 11:33 AM GMT
Countering disinformation: US diplomat underlines importance of fact-checking by journos

Hyderabad: David Moyer, the public affairs officer at the US Consulate General, Hyderabad, called upon journalists to strive to disseminate uncontaminated information because citizens form opinions based on the information supplied by the media.

Delivering the keynote address at the National Conference on Countering Disinformation, Mr. Moyer said, "Misinformation poses the greatest threat to democracies. Journalists help responsible citizens to form an opinion on contemporary issues."

The conference was organised jointly by the Osmania University department of journalism and mass communication and the US Consulate General Hyderabad at the CFRD building on the OU campus on 9 July.

Mr. Moyer added, "Unfortunately, sometimes misinformation comes from legitimate media outlets. Not out of malice but because we are swimming in a sea of information, some of which is true and some of which is false." He said it's not always easy to tell the difference between a lie and a fact.

"But it's important that we all work hard to see that difference and articulate it. This is particularly true for journalists as the public relies on you to understand what's going on in the world," Mr. Moyer observed.

He appreciated OU for coming forward to help Telugu television journalists of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh acquire skills to counter disinformation.

Prof. Lakshminarayana, the registrar of OU, underlined the need to counter disinformation and misinformation for the common good. A book on fact-checking authored by noted journalist Udumula Sudhakar Reddy and fact-checker Satyapriya was released at the event.

Prof. K. Narender, the dean of social sciences, and Prof. K. Stevenson, HoD (journalism and mass communication) also spoke at the event. Syed Nazakat, the founder and CEO of DataLeads, urged participants to apply critical thinking techniques to sift facts from the flood of information.

In her session, Nivedita Niranjankumar, news editor (south) of BoomLive, emphasised observational skills over overdependence on tech tools. She asked the trainees to think about what is fake news, opinion, and joke.

"With regard to a claim, look whether it's false, or missing context, or is a satire. It is wrong to think fact check is needed only when something is viral. Relevance makes every bit of information important to fact check," she said.

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