Unveiling The Truth: Building Capacities To Combat Fake News And Misinformation

The dissemination of false information has grown to be a major problem in the era of continuously changing media environments. On the 12th and 13th of June, Social Media Matters conducted a two-day workshop in Bhutan that was created especially for students of the Royal Thimphu College and media professionals to address this issue. Social Media Matters collaborated with the High Commission of Canada to combat the issue of misinformation and disinformation through capacity building programs for students and media professionals. The workshop, appropriately dubbed #KeepItReal, had the overriding objective of encouraging truth and accuracy. Its participants were expected to gain the skills necessary to recognize, validate, and critically assess material while also gaining a deeper awareness of the various types of disinformation.

The session began on June 12th, with 19 media professionals from various media houses in Bhutan focusing on creating efficient techniques to discover and check the facts. The workshops were led by well-known media literacy and journalism professionals who shed light on the changing nature of fake news and its effects on society. Participants took part in interactive conversations while evaluating case studies and actual instances to comprehend the strategies used by disinformation propagandists.

The workshop was led by a renowned Fact Checker, Bharat Nayak, Founding Editor, The Logical Indian; Arnika Singh, an Online Safety Expert and co-founder of Social Media Matters; Vikram Singh, co-founder of Social Media Matters; and Pratishtha Arora, CEO, Social Media Matters.

Throughout the workshop, a major subject was the value of source evaluation. Participants gained knowledge on how to evaluate an information source's authority, subject matter competence, and bias to determine its credibility. They were urged to take a multifaceted approach to information verification, including fact-checking tools and cross-referencing material from reputable sources. Participants improved their fact-checking abilities by learning how to identify reliable sources from those pushing misleading narratives through hands-on activities and group discussions.

On the 13th of June, the team met with Bhutan's Royal Thimphu College's smart intellect to comprehend the focus of the second-day course, which turned to analyzing various types of misinformation that wreak havoc on our information environment. Participants learned about a variety of strategies used to mislead and sway public opinion. Attendees looked deeply into the strategies employed to propagate false information, covering everything from fake photos and videos to clickbait headlines and misleading social media campaigns.

To combat disinformation, the workshop emphasized the value of critical thinking and media literacy. Participants acquired knowledge of typical warning signs and red flags that point to potential falsehoods in information. They looked into the psychology of false information and learned how emotions and cognitive biases might be used against people to increase the credibility of lies. With this information, participants were better able to navigate the digital environment and assist others in spotting false information.

Developing Capabilities to Directly Combat Misinformation: In addition to educating attendees, the program sought to give them the tools they needed to combat false information. In addition to discussing methods for locating and confirming material, the workshop promoted teamwork and the exchange of best practices among students and media professionals.

Participants actively participated in brainstorming sessions and group discussions to develop proactive strategies to counter false information in their respective industries. The workshop aims to establish a network of media professionals committed to sustaining journalistic integrity and truth by encouraging a sense of accountability and duty in places where false information cannot grow.

Social Media Matters continues its mission to educate and inform the masses about digital ethics and etiquette. The journey has been incredible, and this program highlighted the importance of sharing verified and authenticated information.
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