Stakeholders in the media landscape and corporate institutions have been advised to embrace the concept of e-learning and take advantage of the many opportunities they present for the enhancement of professional competencies amongst employees.Mr Charles Nii Ayiku Ayiku, Technical Advisor at the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said continuous developments in journalism meant staying up-to-date and remaining relevant even as many skills and knowledge were quickly fading out.
He made this call on Wednesday when the GJA launched its Virtual Learning Platform in Accra.
The ceremony was also held to award certificates to participants who have successfully completed the maiden course on “Journalism, Fake News, and Disinformation “on the E-Learning Platform.
In all, thirty-two journalists comprising News Editors, Senior Journalists, Media managers and Regional Correspondents from state and private media organizations across the country went through a week-long training on ‘Journalism, Fake News, and Disinformation.
The training was organized in partnership with Media Response, a non for profit organisiation that works actively in partnership with both state and non-state actors.
The course provided participants with strategies for evaluating the quality of information and understanding differences in the ways that high and low-quality information emerges in the digital era.
Key topics treated under the course were: – News Literacy, What is Fake News, Key Terminologies, Technology that makes fake news possible, Evaluating fake news, and what you can do to fight fake news.
Mr Ayiku, who is also the Course Administrator for the Learning Platform explained that the robust Learning Management System could be assessed via www.gjamediaresponse.org and one could benefit from about sixteen (16) courses currently available.
He said the system offered a flexible and friendly learning environment which would enable participants to study at their own pace without necessarily interrupting their busy work schedule or missing out on lessons.
Mr Ayiku hinted that “some local and international instructors and educational institutions have been identified and talks have begun towards a possible training partnership for the award of certificates. The second batch of trainees for the Journalism, Fake News, and Disinformation course would soon start.”
“Beyond the current courses available, customized and tailor-made courses designed to take account of particular institutional characteristics or requirements can also be arranged with GJA by companies and other institutions,” he added.
Madam Mavis Kitcher, Director, News at the Graphic Communications Group Limited and President of the Association of Women in the Media (ASWIN) said citizens largely depended on traditional media outlets to verify the genuineness of information they read on various digital platforms, as such, journalists needed to add a touch of professionalism in their reportage.
She lauded the GJA and Media Response for the avenue created for its members to enhance their skills and competence and called on the media not to take the opportunity lightly.
Madam Kitcher said amidst the growing practice of citizen journalism, where untrained people had taken up the duty of capturing anything they witnessed all to share for likes and recognition, it was necessary that journalists up their game and bring their professionalism to bare.
“This is what would divide us from those who are not professionals. Let us ensure that we apply our skills to determine what is fake and what is not. Our profession teaches us to be balanced, check, and recheck information before we publish anything. When you are doing your reports, ask yourself if you can always defend it. If you can’t defend anything you write ten to twenty years later, then you are not being professional enough. Abide by the ethics of the profession and fake news would not be part of what you represent. People depend on us; we should not let them down,” she added.
She called on technology companies to develop means by which fake news could be detected on digital platforms and make it unprofitable for people to disseminate such falsehood.
“When they do not make any money or get attention from such acts, it would make the peddling of falsehood unattractive and deal with it drastically.”