Kenya Correspondents Association engages journalists to counter disinformation – Kenya News Agency

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The Kenya Correspondents Association, (KCA), has identified 70 journalists that are receiving training to generate stories to counter the growing disinformation in the society.

The association will engage journalists in Kakamega and Kisumu, Kisii, and Mombasa Counties to participate in the programme, which is supported by Deutsch Akademie (a Germany Institution) on capacity building Rural Correspondents as well as journalists across the country for tackling disinformation.

KCA chair William Oloo Janak claimed that some rural communities lack the ability to distinguish between genuine and fake information during a two-day training course for Western and Nyanza journalists.

He said that disinformation is a distortion of the truth, causing conflict and harm in society. This was exactly what happened during the August General Election.

The trained journalists will identify disinformation areas within their countries and create stories with a long shelf-life to counter it. They will also ensure that they are factual and pass the fact checking tools.

The association has identified a pool fact-checkers and editors that will be assigned to identified journalists to help them write quality stories about disinformation.

He stated that journalists should produce stories on current issues, including economics, politics and environment. These stories will be shared through their media houses, social networks handles, and their blogs.

“We are coming from the general election and there are issues that were driven by different interest groups on disinformation. Some of them were campaigning to support individual politicians or parties. They used a lot of influencers and this brought a lot of confusion for some people causing division,” he added.

The programme will be a valuable addition to the media industry’s efforts to combat fake news, misinformation and deception due to technology and social media.

KCA’s programme is coming at a time when media environments are changing. KCA focuses on mentoring journalists to make it through the tough field.

“We are building a community of journalists that is sensitive to the needs of the society,” he noted.

He stated that the association is completing an engagement with Constructive Institute on emerging brand of Journalism where journalists illuminate community issues through telling stories about community service.

“Journalism of the future is constructive journalism which focuses on building bridges with the community or serving the community interests and not seeing the community as backward. Constructive journalism does not seek to offend and therefore the Media should not train one to be combative or to be an activist journalist,” he noted.

He stated that the journalism environment is changing with the rise in social media. Journalists should shift to second-day journalism, also known as story behind the story journalism.

Janak called for cooperation and collaboration from the government agencies in order to facilitate the work of journalists throughout the country.

“All stakeholders in this country must work together to ensure that the media is protected, the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press is guaranteed as provided for in the Constitution, so that journalists are able to work without fear, intimidation and are facilitated to ensure they do the sacred duty of informing the public,” he noted.

He said that the association was moving forward to conduct a survey next year of all media houses to determine the levels and conditions of journalists’ remuneration.

“We will take various forms of action including litigation if negotiations fail. We do not need journalists being hired over the phone. We require that they read their contracts. We also ask journalists to provide us with information about their welfare. Journalists must resist exploitation, as they encourage bad practice by media owners. Although there are no jobs, you cannot exist in an environment of abuse as a journalist,” he pointed out.

By Moses Wekesa

Source: kenyanews

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