Fake News on COVID -19 kills faster than pandemic –Group

TECH Central-Fake news on COVID-19 kills faster than the pandemic because of its damaging impact on users, the Association of Communication Scholars & Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) has observed.

 It noted with concern that fake news, misinformation and disinformation, had watered down the quality of news on COVID- 19.

In a communiqué issued at the end of its 7th Annual and 1st Virtual Conference, ACSPN also  lamented  an increasing disregard for freedom of the press by authorities whom it noted  use the guise of COVID 19 responses to harass and crackdown on journalists who report on COVID-19.

The conference with the theme “Communicating Identities and Nationhood: Promoting Inclusive Democracy through Access to Information and Knowledge Societies”, was organised in partnership with UNESCO, Information for All Programme (IFAP), and World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), and Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

 “Rather than government focusing on censorship, there should be demand on journalists to understand the technicalities that are required to present accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic,” it advised.

ACSPN urged media organizations to ensure that government understand the indispensable role of the journalist in pandemics such as the COVID-19.

ACSPN which noted   Covid-19 situation as technical and scientific said it comes with particular demands on the media.

The association underscored the role of the media in providing credible and accurate information on health but lamented that the greatest challenge that had faced journalism in the last decade is the wrestle for dealing with falsehood.

 “Information is mystified because those who record information are not trained to package and disseminate it accurately; as such misinformation and disinformation are common features of the media space,” the association pointed out.

ACSPN called on media organizations to enhance fake news education/literacy level and train Journalists to detect fake news.

It also advised that news consumer responsibility should include checking dates of news stories, check veracity of web sites and question news sources, so as to help consumers develop the ability to separate facts from fictions.

“Social and Behaviour Change Communication is strategic in reimagining the future of health and wellbeing of the people,” ACSPN  emphasised.

It encouraged stakeholders to leverage on communication technology to enhance health care.

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