COVID-19: Media Expert Tasks Young Journalists on Security Precautions, Fake News
As the world continues the fight against COVID-19, South African media research expert, Jonathan Rozen has charged journalists on the need to employ security precautions in news gathering and reporting by using credible sources at their disposal.
Mr. Rozen made the call on Wednesday, during an online chit-chat organized by YouthsDigest in conjunction with Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), on twitter with young journalists as he emphasized on using essential technological tools in news gathering and reporting within this period.
The chit-chat tagged: “COVID-19 Safety Tips on Digital Security for Young Journalist,” was aimed at educating young journalist on the importance of using fact-checking and safety mechanisms in gathering and dissemination of news on the deadly pandemic.
While answering questions on security tips needed for effective journalism during the pandemic, he said; “journalist before travelling can back up all devices to a hard drive or cloud. Also remove information that you would not want border officials to access and make sure that your external drive is encrypted”
“Journalists should be given the freedom to do their job, this means they should take precautions to protect their physical, digital, and mental wellbeing and the authorities should ensure they work freely”
Meanwhile, reacting to questions on fake news and the absence of fact-checking culture amongst journalists, he noted that social media can serve as a veritable tool in sourcing information, as well as ensuring that the information is credible and has a valid source.
“There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19. Fortunately, there are resources like from the World Health Organization’s site on its ‘myth buster’ that can be used to check facts and clear controversies surrounding the deadly pandemic”.
“Before the pandemic, research and fact checking was part of journalists’ reporting practice. This hasn’t changed. And sites like ‘firstdraftnews’ also has a great resource hub for reporting on coronavirus” he emphasized.