$50 bln more required for middle-and low-income Arab countries to recover from COVID-19: ESCWA    GERD talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to continue Saturday    GERD talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume on Friday    Saudi-led coalition destroys four Houthi drones over Yemen    Rudolfo Anaya, 'godfather' of Chicano literature, dies at 82    Liverpool reiterate need for safe celebrations ahead of Villa clash    Egypt and Jordan's Foreign ministers discuss annexation of West Bank    Indigenous leaders angry about coronavirus risk from Brazilian military visit    EU grants conditional clearance to COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir    UN says it is "alarmed" at arrests in Hong Kong, concerned at "vague" law    France's PM Philippe resigns ahead of Cabinet reshuffle    Gulf economies to shrink 7.6% due to coronavirus, decline in oil prices: IMF    UK PM Johnson says of fathering his newborn son: 'I'm pretty hands on'    Japan seeks extradition of Americans accused in Ghosn escape    Ex-FDA official says the worst of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak to end in January    Moderna delays coronavirus vaccine trial – report    Sane completes move to Bayern from Manchester City    Greece starts clearing ground for Athens property plan after long delay    Egypt developing four WHO-registered vaccines to treat coronavirus patients    Lebanon's IMF talks on hold, finance minister says    313 tourists from Switzerland, Belarus arrive in Egypt following flight resumption    Real Madrid close in on La Liga title after edging Getafe    Ethiopia intransigent on GERD issue: ECES seminar experts    Qalaa Holdings records 191% y-o-y increase in revenues during Q1 of 2020    ABB, Hitachi launch $10bn joint power venture    NCW calls for investigating harassment and rape allegations discussed on social media    Egypt's National Election Committee to announce Senate election details    Egypt is developing 4 vaccines, 3 drugs against COVID-19: Higher Education Minister    Italy's Eni unveils new gas discovery off Egyptian Nile Delta coast    Apple to re-close more stores in U.S, bringing total to 77    Egypt's Zamalek to continue training Thursday, but domestic league participation unclear    Egypt's parliament Oks supplementary spending bill for FY20    Liverpool boss Klopp happy with African Nations Cup postponement    Deadly protests erupt in Ethiopia over killing of popular Oromo singer    Egypt's cultural activities to resume mid-July    At 99, CPC governance legitimacy shines brighter in time of global uncertainty    Federation of Egyptian Banks denies funding GERD: eletreby    Saudi development authority starts executing phase I of giant cultural project    30 June Revolution preserved Egyptian identity from hijack: Al-Sisi    Don't miss Al-Hadra troupe's two concerts at El-Sawy Culturewheel    Egypt's President Sisi opens Baron Empain Palace, two int'l airports    Inauguration of Baron Empain Palace important for Egypt's tourism sector: official    President Al-Sisi inaugurates new national project developments in Cairo    11 coronavirus cases detected at Egyptian Premier League clubs – EFA    Egypt to host World Handball Championship on time despite COVID-19: EHF President    Liverpool's Egyptian winger Salah fit for Crystal Palace clash – coach Klopp    Egypt's parliament Oks amendments to House law amid differences over election    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Several Arab initiatives to tackle fake news at Alexandria Media Forum
Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq launch projects to fight phenomenon
Published in Daily News Egypt on 24 - 04 - 2018

As Middle Eastern countries have weathered civil wars, conflicts, and political instability, every news story has had two, if not more, narratives. On what is true or fake, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq launched projects and initiatives over the past years to counter fake and fabricated news, run by journalists, bloggers, and volunteers. At Alexandria Media Forum, held from 15-17 April 2018 at Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology in Borg El-Arab, Alexandria, all the projects' representatives provided more details about their work.
"We are not journalists," noted Mohamed Hassanein, of "Da Begad" (Is It True?), an Egyptian initiative run by seven young volunteers. Hassanein, a 22-year-old engineering student at Helwan University, said that the team includes doctors, engineers, and others who work in different fields. "It was launched in 2013 by Hany Bahgat, who works in the digital marketing field, as he noticed how fake news flooded social media following the 25 January 2011 revolution," Hassanein said.
However, he joined the team because he was a big fan of their work. "They were requesting new members, providing a quiz to those interested in joining them," said Hassanein, adding that the job required research and fact-checking skills.
He said that their Facebook page has more than 1 million followers, and their Twitter page has 14,000. "We build credibility with our audience who trust us, as we provide all our posts with official, documented sources. However, we face some rejection from users, as posts oppose their own beliefs or opinions."
The Da Begad team coordinate online and organise their work through a comfortable schedule as they all have their own jobs. "We review all news, carefully check it, then publish on social media channels and our website," noted Hassanein, adding that they believe in what they do, even though it is not a paid job.
Meanwhile, "Akhbar Metre" (News Metre) is another Egyptian project, the main mission of which is to fight fake news. Their bio reads: "the project aims at assessing and evaluating the professionalism and truthfulness of Egyptian news that are shared online and promote a critical mindset among media consumers. Our goal is to put pressure on formal media channels online to commit to ethical and professional frameworks in news production, to avoid using manipulative techniques in their news, and to stop sharing false news."
Nourehane Saif Eldin, a journalist and one of the project's members, said, "our main purpose is to academically monitor and check news on media websites then evaluate it in term of professional, objective reporting." She added that people have the right to receive true news. "It's a human right," noted Saif Eldin.
The team is comprised of six members, according to Saif Eldin, including journalists, social media specialists, video editors, and the founder, Haytham Atef. "We don't just focus on negatives acts, when there is positive, professional reporting, we highlight it," Saif Eldin said.
In Iraq, From 2013 to 2016, three projects were launched on social media: Fakepostspage, Peace Bloggers, and Tech for Peace, as a result of fake news that flourished due to conflicts and the rise of the Islamic State group in the country. "Young people feel obliged to maintain societal peace," said Muhannad Munjed Hameed, an Iraqi blogger and fact-checking trainer. "I feel obliged to do something towards fake news, as a main responsibility," he said, adding that "fabricated news has a negative effect on society and national unity. It leads to communal violence and dissemination of hate."
Hameed started his profession as a fact-checking trainer with Iraqi Network for Social Media (INSM) and Media in Cooperation and Transition (MICT), as well as other international institutions, with the aim of training young people on how to fact-check news, starting first with media personnel, activists, and then university and high schools students.
"We train people to spread the culture of fact-checking in their workplaces and communities," noted the 28-year-old blogger, adding that most workers at the three aforementioned projects are university students and bloggers, not journalists.
Moreover, the Lebanese newspaper Annahar launched five months ago a project led by journalists and reporters to combat fake news. "At first, we launched a Facebook page entitled ‘LebanonNowNews.com', and published three pieces of news with catchy headlines to attract readers, but actually, the news did not contain any real news. However, it was a message from the newspaper to readers to say to them, ‘do not open any source, believe, or share anything without verifying it,'" said Diana Skaini, head of digital content at Annahar.
This page was just the beginning for the Lebanese newspaper, part of a larger campaign to counter fake news and rumours. "The campaign is named "Annahar, what you read, not what you see", which means "reading news in depth," explained Skaini, noting, "Arab societies need truth and true information, people need to understand what is going on in the world; credible and trusted information, not catchy headlines or fabricated news."
Meanwhile, Annahar launched a section entitled "Annahar counters fake news", through which it communicates with reporters in the most significant international media, such as the BBC, Le Monde, and Le Parisien, which have sections of journalists to fact-check news. "Each organisation has its section of seven specialised journalists to only fact-check news," Skaini pointed out, noting that Arab media outlets do not have such departments.
"This is because they don't know how to do that or the tools they need, and of course, it would not be easy to have seven journalists only for fact-checking; it would be a financial burden on any media organisation," she said. However, she noted that it is never too late to get on the right track to implementing international practices. "We can benefit from international media experiences," she said.
On the other hand, Jordan has taken the mission through an academic approach, with the Jordan Media Institute creating a project on media and information education. "We offer trainings and academic programmes to school and university students in order to teach them doubting skills before sharing anything online," said Anoud Al Zoubi, a Jordanian communications professional, fact-checking trainer, and TV and radio producer.
On social media, the institute launched "Akeed.jo," a Facebook page to monitor news published in Jordanian media, enhance public monitoring, and spread the culture of media accountability among the media, journalists, and society. "The main task is to correct fake news and rumours," Al Zoubi noted, adding that they teach students technological tools such InVID and Google tools to fact-check news.
"We also teach them that the virtual world is the same as the real one, has main ethics and responsibilities, and that they do not have the absolute freedom to do or publish whatever they want," Al Zoubi concluded.

Clic here to read the story from its source.