• October 3, 2023

US Embassy trains students on misinformation, disinformation and fake news

US Embassy trains students on misinformation, disinformation and fake news
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By Hassan Osman Kargbo

In a bid to curtail misinformation, disinformation and fake news, the United States (US) Embassy in Freetown in partnership with the Fourah Bah College (FBC) American Shelf, has trained students in media literacy on countering disinformation, misinformation, and fake news in the country.


This event took place on Friday, 29th September, 2023, at the Fourah Bah College (FBC) Library on campus.


Speaking on the concept of misinformation, disinformation and fake news, the Emerging Voice Specialist at the US Embassy in Freetown, Abass Kalokoh, said disinformation is false information which is deliberately intended to mislead the public by intentionally misstating the facts, whereas misinformation is false and incorrect information by getting the facts wrong.


He said that fake news is the mother of disinformation, adding that fake news is false or misleading information presented as news.


‘Fake news is information that is clearly and demonstrably fabricated and that has been packaged and distributed to appear as legitimate or correct news,’ he said.


He continued that all the three variables are very much common in today’s society, so students should take the message to the public so that people will become knowledgably about the dangers in spreading fabricated stories on social media and other platforms.


He noted that the amount of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation in the country cannot be over empathised, as such; youth should desist from spreading fake and unconfirmed news in the country.


Kalokoh added although this is the information age and information is a human right issue across the world people should be orientated on the negative side of fake news in any society.


Discussing the impact of fake news, disinformation, and misinformation, Mr. Kalokoh said bloggers and other people are making a lot of money spreading fake news to the public describing the acts as “encyclopaedia of fake news” that he noted has the tendency to affect the social, economic or political values of the society, because it could appear to be packaged and distributed as legitimate news for the public.


He encouraged the students to be good examples in dealing with disinformation, misinformation and fake news in the society, entreating all and sundry to be ambassadors against fake news so that people could stop spreading fake news in their various communities.


Whenever someone comes across any information that is confusing, they should stop and think whether that information is correct or not, by so doing they will stop information that is misleading or not misleading in any media platform.


Speaking to Forum News SL after the training, Abdulai Fasinah Dumbuya, who is a final year student at the Mass Communications Department, FBC, said the training has helped him learn a lot about misleading information and assured Forum News that he will surely try be the ambassadors against fake news so that people will see the need to crosscheck or fact-check any information they see before they could send or spread that particular information in the media.


He thanked the US Embassy and the FBC Library for such a timely training. He said, ‘People are everywhere sharing fake news in the country but I am such that this training will surely change the narrative. This training is timely and a big thanks to the US Embassy and the FBC Library, because fake and misleading information has been the order of the day in the country.’

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