Mrs Maud Adjeley Ashong Elliot, Lecturer, Information Technology (IT) Department, University of Professional Studies, has advised journalists to invest in digital fact checking tools to make their news authentic.
She said the internet never forgot information that had been shared on it, hence, it behooved journalists to ensure that whatever they put there was true.
Mrs Ashong Elliot gave the advice during a Digital Literacy and Skills training workshop in Accra, organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands for female journalists.
The training was to empower women with the skills to use the internet and digital tools for their work to improve their lives and safety online.
Statistics show that over 4.74 billion people representing 75 per cent of the world’s population are social media users. Globally, 48 per cent of women used the internet as against 50 per cent men.
In Ghana, at the start of 2023, 6.30 million people aged 18 and above used social media where 40. 5 per cent were female whilst 59.5 per cent male.
Mrs Ashong Elliot, also the Vice President, Internet Society, Ghana Chapter, noted that misinformation was prevalent during pandemics and elections which created fear and panic, and could disrupt social harmony and undermine political processes.
Therefore, she underscored the need for journalists to adapt emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make their work easier. “We have to get used to it because it is here,” the Lecturer stated.
Mrs Ashong Elliot said the use of AIs could among other things, detect and flag suspicious content, identify misinformation patterns and verify news sources.
She advocated for raising awareness and educating people on online abuse and strengthening platform policies and their enforcement.
She called on journalists to encourage the public to report all forms of abuse online and for people to support and empower victims.
Madam Vivian Affoah, Programme Manager, Digital Rights, Media Foundation for West Africa, said there were more men using the internet than women and it was worse in the rural areas.
She noted that the digital gender divide still existed, hence the need for women to be empowered to use the internet for their businesses and to enhance their lives.
Madam Affoah stated that many women avoided social media because of bullying, abuse and harassment in all forms online.
Media Foundation for West Africa is an international Non- Governmental Organisation which was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and of expression.