The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has charged media stakeholders to support the fight against misinformation to preserve confidence in democracy and public institutions.
He made these comments at the launch of Dubawa Ghana, a local chapter for independent verification and fact-checking in public discourse and journalism.
Speaking on the theme “stemming misinformation to advance democracy and good governance in Ghana” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah stated that “if consistently you keep reading or hearing whether it is fake news or false narratives about our body politic, about our institutions and about our democracy over a period, citizens begin to lose confidence in the democracy, in public institutions and in the governance systems”.
Misinformation has been on the rise in the country in recent times. The increasing spate of it has caused institutions particularly public institutions to be at the mercy of false or inaccurate information deliberately churned out to deceive sections of the public.
This Mr. Oppong Nkrumah emphasized that “if you clearly monitor what is happening in some part of the world, extremism may be not necessarily violent extremism but political extremism is beginning to gain hold because of all of these false narratives of blatantly fake materials that is been churned out into eco chambers that now begin to make people take some very intransigent positions on matters that we could have hitherto easily agreed upon”.
The Minister also indicated that Dubawa as a fact-checking platform came at the right time since the country is heading to the polls.
He acknowledged that the presence of a platform that can readily verify fact from politicians and public office holders will help the country a great deal. “The stakes are a bit higher in the 2020 elections and it is, therefore, heartwarming that it is at this time that Dubawa is being rolled out to help us combat this threat of misinformation” he added.
In a concluding remark, Hon. Oppong Nkrumah took the opportunity to encourage the media and the general public to lead the fight against misinformation.
He challenged the traditional media to “amplify truth and not necessarily add to the challenges in the statuesque” citing an example of a recent happening in Northern Ghana where security officers were grappling with a security situation as a result of misinformation peddled by some unknown people meant to destabilize the situation further.
Dubawa is a non-partisan institution that is bent on fostering a culture of truth and verification in public discourse and journalism through strategic partnerships between the media, government, civil society organizations, technology giants and the public.
As a fact checking institution, Dubawa upholds the values of accuracy, balance, transparency, verification, independence and accountability in its operations which is in line with the five principles of the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN).