Journalists trained on ‘credible and responsible journalism’
ILAM: With an aim to encourage the media to be more accurate and credible, working journalists from the districts of Panchthar, Jhapa and Ilam were trained on different dimensions of credible and ethical journalism focusing on identifying and preventing disinformation and fake news. They were introduced with the various aspects of ethical and credible media during the first phase residential training that took place from 27 to 28 February, 2020 in Ilam district of the Province number 1.
The training organized by Media Action Nepal (MAN) as part of the initiative by the U.S. Embassy in Nepal ‘to help journalists fight disinformation and misinformation and be more responsible in reporting’, was attended by a total of 30 working journalists, of which 8 were women.
The participating journalists from newspapers, online news-portals, radio stations and television channels were trained on different aspects of credible journalism concentrating on identifying and preventing fake news. They were also oriented through discussions and exercises on ethical journalism and standards of preventing disinformation, handling photographic messages, understanding public interest and promoting media accountability; and the media’s role for the informed democracy.
The training sessions were facilitated by Mr. Laxman Datt Pant, media expert and the chairperson of MAN, renowned media educator Prof. Rama Krishna Regmee and Mr. Chandra Shekhar Karki, celebrated photojournalist. Mr. Pant dealt on code of conduct and the ethical standards for credible journalism and media ethics. He also presented with the findings of the study carried out to see the nature of disinformation and fake news in the selected newspapers and online news-portals. Prof. Regmee oriented participants on techniques of identifying and preventing fake news, understanding public interests and media accountability. Mr. Karki presented with photographic disinformation from the national and international media highlighting ways to prevent such information. All sessions were delivered in a participatory approach providing participants an opportunity for presentation and discussions.
The inaugural session was addressed by Mr. Tulsiram Sedhai, Chief District Officer of Ilam, Mr. Anup Mahajan from the U. S. Embassy in Nepal and Mr. Laxman Datt Pant, chairperson of MAN. Speaking at the session Mr. Pant introduced with the MAN’s capacity building initiatives highlighting the session plans of first phase training and follow up assignments. Mr. Sedhai appreciated the initiative and stated that the training would be fruitful for participating journalists in combating disinformation. Mr. Mahajan said that the embassy is happy to support journalists for their professional growth and believed that the training would help them understanding various dimensions of disinformation. The inaugural session was moderated my Mr. Bijay Shekhar Bhattarai, District Representative of MAN.
The working sessions begin with an introductory game where Mr. Pant asked participating journalists to introduce them with a word that begins with the first letter of their first names and is related to ethical media. Ms. Prerana Marasini, Information Specialist of the U.S. Embassy in Nepal highlighted the embassy’s initiative on helping journalists fight disinformation. She said that there are issues to improve. This training is organized to address those issues and promote credible journalism, she added.
Sujata Sunuwar, a participating woman journalist from a radio station said that the first phase training has been very productive. I had no idea about the minor details a journalist should look into to ensure accuracy of the information; this training provided me with clarity on the issues, she added. ‘I will be transferring this knowledge through consultation among my colleagues and urge them to stop fake news,’ Sarala Regmi, another participant shared her action plan.
The participating journalists were divided into groups and asked to present with their action plans. The training concluded with a follow up assignment until the second phase training that will be organized in two months’ time period. All participants are assigned to find out information or news story/article or photograph or video that goes against standards of preventing disinformation and to discuss among colleagues to ways improving it.
The training helped participating journalists in understanding ethical standards of journalism and, identifying and preventing disinformation. The training was significant to build a common understanding among journalists in approaches to combating disinformation.