New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Broadcasters urged to scale up fact-checking

Broadcasters urged to scale up fact-checking

2022-02-14  Paheja Siririka

Broadcasters urged to scale up fact-checking

Deputy information minister Emma Theofelus has called on radio broadcasters to continuously fact-check information before disseminating it to the public, and to become champions in the fight against disinformation.

She made these remarks at the celebration of World Radio Day at Rehoboth last Friday. 

She said fact-checking and verifying information is crucial as the opposite poses a serious threat to the communities being served.

“With the world flooded with propaganda, misinformation and disinformation, communicators must dispel these weapons of mass destruction. The level of trust that people have in radio reinforces the need for an accurate and reliable dissemination of information,” said Theofelus.

To maintain and earn the trust, radio should ensure inclusivity and diversity in terms of content and programming to ensure the representation of listeners, and enable them to have access to relevant information.

 “With this expectation from the public, radio anchors and presenters have the responsibility of ensuring that they fact-check information before disseminating information to their listeners. Breaking trust with the public can be done easily when disregarding the journalism code of ethics whilst trust could take years to rebuild,” she added. 

Over the years, there has been a transformation filled with various innovations to ensure easy access to radio, including the use of sign language in the digital space, or automated subtitles for the hearing-impaired audiences when streaming or announcing content for the visually impaired.

 “I am particularly impressed by this development, and I urge other radio stations who have not yet migrated to digital platforms to move with the times in the name of inclusivity. By extension, the migration to digital platforms presents the opportunity availed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” advised Theofeus.

Namibia has more than 20 radio stations, including 11 under the flagship of the national broadcaster like those in local languages, with the rest being private while others are commercial or community stations.

Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, 13 February became World Radio Day (WRD). The theme for the 2022 edition is devoted to “Radio and Trust”.

UNESCO Representative to Namibia Djaffar Moussa-Elkadhum said radio remains one of the surest ways to know what to do, without controversially confusing matters, especially now during a pandemic. 

“Radio would not inspire such trust if we could not make it our own, regardless of our culture. While television requires more significant resources, radio offers communities, villages and schools an accessible means of sharing their knowledge,” he said.

Moussa-Elkadhum added that while maintaining and reinforcing its trust through the production of independent and high-quality content, radio must expand its accessibility and take care of its inclusive audiences, leaving no one behind.

Meanwhile, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila stated that radio stations have played an important role in conveying important information during the Covid-19 pandemic and the related health measures and lockdowns.

“The pandemic has forced radio to reinvent itself on programming, audience engagement and providing hope to their local communities or listenership. One of Namibia’s major challenges during the current pandemic is misinformation about the Covid-19 virus and its vaccines. To this, radio has adapted, though, because it commands the trust of listeners,” shared Antila.

2022-02-14  Paheja Siririka

Share on social media