THE need has been reemphasized for journalists to ensure accuracy and accountability in the reportage of events as a way of entrenching integrity and keeping to the ethics of the profession.
At the end of a four-day training in Abuja, organized by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) for journalists, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, the Executive Director of the center, Thursday noted the importance of fact verification in news reports.
He explained that verification of fact enables a reporter to check factual assertions in non-fictional text to determine the veracity and correctness of the statements in the text.
According to him, “the primary objective is to provide accurate, unbiased analysis of statements in order to correct public misperceptions and increase knowledge of important issues.
“It does not report an event but the claims made at the event to ascertain the accuracy of the claims. Fact-checking deepens the capacity of your audience to always believe you, it helps to give value to your story because in journalism, what is true today may be false tomorrow.”
Pointing out that the practice of journalism rests on the principle of integrity and credibility, he noted that “media credibility is built on accuracy and the integrity of stories they report, so we should worry about social media because their stories provide velocity, volume and veracity.”
The training was organised for five maiden Dubawa Fellows. Dubawa is Nigeria’s first independent verification and fact checking platform initiated by PTCIJ to enhance the culture of truth in public discourse, policy, and journalism practice.
Olorunyomi said the objective of Dubawa “is to scale up our platform to serve as a repository of factual and truth-based information in Nigeria.”
The Centre’s Project Officer/Editor, Miss Ebele Oputa, explained further that, “the training is carefully designed to provide, not just a one-directional training for the Fellows, but to encourage conversations between the trainers and the
Fellows, so that the right approaches to solving the information disorder problem in Nigeria can be attained.”
According to the NAN, a facilitator at the training and a lecturer at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) Mrs Maureen Popoola, said “an ethical journalist should act with integrity and also strive to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. Always seek the truth and report, minimise harm, act independently and be accountable and transparent.
“Truth is the cornerstone of journalism and every journalist should strive diligently to ascertain the truth of every event.”