As the debate of fake news and misinformation in Nigeria is spreading like wide-fire and need to curb it is on the rise, First Draft News in collaboration with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has launched a website platform called ‘CrossCheck Nigeria’ to tackle the menace.
The website is aimed at verifying news, pictures and videos that circulate on all social media platforms in order to authenticate or debunk claims emanating from such.
The Managing Director of FirstDraftNews, Jenni Sargent, explained that the website uses research-based methods to fight misinformation and disinformation emanating from the social web.
Speaking during a panel of discussion at the launch of the platform on Wednesday in Lagos, media executives decried the worrisome increase of fake news in Nigeria, saying journalists must uphold the core ethics of reporting the truth at all cost and times.
A member of the Editorial Board of the Guardian newspaper, Martins Oloja, said fake news is ‘deliberate propaganda aimed at destroying the truth’.
While attributing the evolution of technology and social media as major factors for the growth of fake news, Oloja called on journalists to be more vigilant and dig deeper to maintain the role of gatekeeping for the society.
“The moment customers notice you are no longer credible, you are finished in journalism. The foundation is truth and accuracy and if you don’t have them in journalism, you will lose business,” he said.
Also speaking, the Publisher of The Niche newspaper, Ikechukwu Amaechi, advised journalists and media publishers to maintain their credibility at all cost, saying once your medium is no longer credible, the newspaper dies naturally.
“Daily Times was once the fastest selling newspapers before. But when it begin to publish more of propaganda as a result of government influence, it collapsed,” Amaechi noted.
ICIR Executive Director, Dayo Aiyetan, said Nigerians can freely log into the website, post pictures, videos and any other information they want CrossCheck Nigeria to verify to curb the circulation of fake news in the country.