Countering the threats of dis/misinformation: Fact-checking practices of students of two universities in West Africa

Theodora Dame Adjin-Tettey 1 2 * , Francis Amenaghawon 3
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1 Department of Media, Language and Communication, Durban University of Technology, SOUTH AFRICA
2 School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University, Makhanda, SOUTH AFRICA
3 Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, NIGERIA
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 14, Issue 1, Article No: e202409. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/14134
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ABSTRACT

Although access is uneven, studies have shown a high uptake of digital technologies and platforms across Africa, with many accessing social media, which is a fertile ground for the spread of fake news and disinformation, calling for the need to factcheck information before consumption or sharing. The study was grounded in explore, engage, and empower (EEE) model of media and information literacy (MIL), which states that MIL competencies empower media and information users to identify, access, and retrieve information and media content skillfully (explore), analyze, and evaluate media and information critically (engage) and create, share, or use information and media ethically, safely, and responsibly (empower). The purpose was to assess fact-checking practices of students in two universities in Ghana and Nigeria to ascertain the extent to which they factcheck information, their levels of knowledge of fact checkers and the fact checkers that they use. The simple random sampling was used to draw a total of 316 respondents. It was found that although many respondents confirmed the authenticity of news and information received before acting on them, they mostly did so through social media and their networks. Few respondents knew about fact-checking platforms and could state names of actual factcheckers. The study makes a case for MIL, which includes fact checking, to enable media users to analyze and evaluate news and information critically to ensure the consequent ethical safe and responsible sharing and usage of information and media content, as EEE model proposes.

CITATION

Adjin-Tettey, T. D., & Amenaghawon, F. (2024). Countering the threats of dis/misinformation: Fact-checking practices of students of two universities in West Africa. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 14(1), e202409. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/14134

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