BIRN Kosovo holds second training on fact-checking and tackling misinformation

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On March 24 and 25, BIRN Kosovo, in partnership with the International Press Institute, IPI, held its second two-day training course on tackling disinformation and establishing fact-checking methods.

During the online course, which was part of the “Solidifying the Resilience of Kosovo’s Current and Future Journalists” project, and funded by the EU in Kosovo, participants interacted via video call with specialists from around the world.

On the first day, Carina Van Wyk, head of education and training at Africa Check, Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation, introduced the topic “Dealing with the (mis)infodemic.” Van Wyk explained how false information spreads, and outlined tips and tools for identifying fake news websites, images and videos used to spread false information.

Allwell Okpi, a researcher and community manager at Africa Check’s Nigeria office, then spoke about how fact-checkers work to adhere to the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles, the fact-checking process, and on ways in which journalists can apply it to their work.

In the last session of the first day, Keegan Leech, a researcher at Africa Check based in Johannesburg, spoke more about health and science reporting in the “infodemic” age, sharing tips on finding credible data and preparing for an onslaught of false information related to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The second day was covered by Eoghan Sweeney, an open-source investigation specialist and trainer who over the past decade has helped to establish and develop digital verification and fact-checking operations at media organisations across the globe.

The session covered various topics, including geolocating content and techniques that help figure out the precise location shown in a piece of content. Sweeney also elaborated on issues like source analysis (knowing more about a source’s identity, authenticity and motivations), dealing with the public (how to approach the owners of user-generated content), as well as maintaining integrity and the ethics of investigating as information becomes more easily available.

A total of 34 participants took part in the training, 27 of whom were women.

BIRN and IPI believe that the training will help young journalists tackle fake news and unverified reporting by helping them spot fake news and provide verified information that adheres to journalistic standards.

The delivered knowledge was practical, and will help journalists develop these skills further, while the trainers also expressed a readiness to remain at the participants’ disposal regarding any questions that arise after the two training days come to an end.