Media workers pulled up for not fact checking information

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In celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2019 yesterday, journalists from around the world stood in solidarity to defend and evaluate the main tenets of press freedom.

As such, OBSERVER media spoke to the President of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) Anika Kentish, who said media workers in Antigua and Barbuda need to step up their game.

“We need as journalists to be very careful about the information that is used and besides the fundamental questions: who, what, where…we have to ask why,” Kentish said.

According to Kentish, her biggest observation relates to the lack of scrutiny or discretion applied to the collating of information. She noted that despite information being more accessible than ever, disinformation is widespread throughout the press.

“Yes, we know that there’s a lot of information; we’ve had more information than ever, but disinformation is rampant and we see it in social media first of all, where there’s a lot of unchecked information that goes out wild. Now we recognize that the average Joe may not be held to the same standards as media professionals where fact-checking information is concerned, but there is nothing that stops the average person from stopping and questioning information before they share it,” Kentish added.

She pointed out that just because a politician or anyone for that matter says something, it does not mean that their statements are not erroneous.

“So we have to make sure that we double check that the information is correct; ask the right questions; be able to look it up; verify it by double checking with somebody else; asking experts; going back to previous stories on that subject, sometimes, to see what was written on that, ” she added.

Furthermore, Kentish said the ACM is concerned that foreign and commercial interests have interfered with the electoral process.

“Naturally we’ve seen what has happened in the United States and other parts of the world and we have to be very, very concerned about the extent to which a foreign power could try to influence an election.”

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. It is now observed on May 3rd each year.

This year’s theme is Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.

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