Beware of Whatsapp as a source, media warned

Gamuchirai Bhachi

THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has encouraged members of the media to verify facts before publishing to reduce misinformation and disinformation.

The call was made during a workshop hosted by MISA aimed for journalists, women’s rights activists, persons with disabilities and lawyers. Veteran journalist, Chris Chinaka, emphasised the need for fact-checking to reduce falsehoods and biases, and suggested ending the reliance on Facebook and WhatsApp as major sources of misinformation and disinformation.

Chinaka suggested using verifying tools such as Reverse Image search and Tineye, especially with respect to images.

He also urged the media to flag false information during the election period.

“WhatsApp is a major source of information whereby everyone is a writer and publisher. 

“All who participate in media literacy should educate people on the dangers of posting unverified information,” said Chinaka.

He took his colleagues through the steps of fact checking to put an end to misinformation and disinformation.

He said journalists should first verify the source, and also verify the source with other sources.

“When you hear information, you need to verify the source, check with other sources and at the end you should check your own biases,” he said.

Misinformation and disinformation are rampant in this country and Chinaka urged the media to use verifying tools.

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