Don advocates increased media literacy to curb fake news circulation

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Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, has called for increased traditional media literacy among Nigerians to reduce circulation and damage caused by fake news.
Akinfeleye, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said fake news was a major threat to democracy across the world.
He also spoke at a session on Contending with Fake News and Propaganda at the International Press Institute (IPI) conference.
According to him, fake news was adulterated, unreliable and its objective is always to cause disharmony, disaster and to incite the public.
He said fake news was not a new phenomenon in the world, adding that it had been in existence since 1890.
The don called for collective efforts among government, the people and the media to curb fake news circulation and its damage, especially ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Akinfeleye blamed the accelerated spread and damage of fake news in the world on the use of social media where anything could be posted without anybody taking responsibility.
“Because of the damage fake news can cause to the spirit of democracy, about 30 countries of the world, excluding Nigeria have passed legislation against fake news.
“But the 30 countries have not been able to enforce the law because of some legality, fundamental human right, the right to know and freedom of speech.
“So, it is going to be very difficult to control but it can be reduced if the traditional media come together and stand against it,” he said.
He described fake news givers as “information traffickers” who were fast at giving out false information without considerations to credibility.
According to him, the traditional media must come together; rebuild their systems and coordination so that they can reduce the damage of fake news.
Akinfeleye advocated for the inclusion of media literacy in the curriculum of journalism schools and urged journalists to check and cross check their fact before publication.(NAN)

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