“If It Is Fake, It Is Not News”

“If it is fake, it is not news” – Snr. Journalist

Senior journalist and media manager, Dr. Alhaji Sadick Abubabkar  has urged journalists to disregard the infamous phrase “fake news”, as he contends  there is no such thing  as fake news.

According to him, once the information is fake, it does not qualify to be news.

“If it is fake it is not news so why must we accept the phrase fake news”, he quizzed.

Dr. Sadick was a panelist on an international press forum on fake news organized by Media General as part of activities marking international press freedom day.

He said the beginning of the fake news phenomenon was when we embraced it in the system

“The problem with fake news is that we accepted it so early in the game”, he said.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Sadick  noted that fake news needs to be contextualized to be understood, if not it is likely to be called “anything” and that in his assertion is very problematic for everyone including traditional media.

He added there is an inherent demand for fake news but that should not be the journalist’s responsibility to provide that.

“Fake news has created a very big problem for traditional media; lies, fabricated news is now in competition with news to the extent that because of our psychological makeup we would want to first go to where there are rumours, where there are gossips, where something sensational comes”, he said.

Dr. Sadick cautioned that at no point should journalists engage in fake news because it distorts that truth that they are supposed to be reporting. He encouraged them not to allow influential people, especially politicians to push news down their throats. He urged journalists to always strive to be independent in their reportage and play a “gatekeeping” role.

He acknowledged fake news is a menace that the media alone cannot fight but would require a collective and collaborative effort to check it.

The event which was held  Wednesday May 2, at the Accra International Press Center featured renowned international journalists and relevant  industry players who discussed extensively  the growing phenomenon  of  fake news and how it hinders efforts of  upholding press freedom, rule of  law, and ethical journalism.

It attracted media practitioners, journalists, student journalists from the African University College of Communication (AUCC), Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and University of Professional Studies, Accra, as well as a section of the public.

On the panel were Liesbeth Tjonameeuw from Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Francis Sowa, a member of the Senegal media regulatory body and lecturer, Samuel Darko, BBC journalist, lawyer and lecturer, Charles Ayiku, a communications lecturer and others.

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