An organization called Penplusbytes has educate the public on fake news in Ghana , which shows that the Ghanaian media landscape does not have system, budget or trained personnel dedicated to combat the menace of false news.
The study, titled “Media Perspectives on fake news in Ghana (www.Penplusbytes.org/fakenews), also establishes that in Ghana “bait and click” is the commonest form of fake news; fabricated content and false headlines without connection to content.
Globally, fake news or hoaxes, usually in the form of misinformation, spin, outright lies and fabrications has been around for a long time.
According to the study, But in recent times, fake news has seen rapid growth due to social media and other new digital tools which are enablers with attendant adverse impact on citizens’ lack of trust not only in the news media but also, key governance institutions.
Naturally, the Ghanaian media landscape is not excluded from this global epidemic.
Reasons for undertaking the study
Penplusbytes set out to undertake the “Media Perspectives on Fake News in Ghana” study in order to understand the prevalence of the fake news problem whiles assessing the measures in place to combat this phenomenon.
The study was based on the use of a structured questionnaire administered to nearly 200 media organizations in Ghana made up of print, online, media convergence and broadcast media spread through the ten (10) regions of Ghana.
In terms of if, the media in Ghana is supporting public education on fake news, the survey results showed that 82.5% do not have programmes or columns for educating the public on fake news.
It came out with the view that most newsrooms (81.7%) did not assign staff to deal with fake news.
Though there are rules and regulations to govern reporters in reporting fake news, it still a problematic since literature points to the fact that laws and regulations are not magic bullet to deal with fake news and misinformation.
Executive Director’s view
According to the Executive Director of Penplusbytes and lead researcher, Kwami Ahiabenu II, “the issue of Fake news and misinformation is here to stay; with the likelihood of it becoming a crisis in due course. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about its manifestation in Ghana and options available to deal with it.
In light of this situation, we are excited that we are able to contribute to the body of knowledge on this subject while offering practical recommendations to deal with this problem.”
story by: Augustina Tetteh/Pinkfmonlinegh.com