The University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) conducted a workshop on Fact-Checking on April 5, 2018, hosted by Department of Media Studies and Journalism, ULAB.

The workshop addressed the origin, developments and ethical principles of fact-checking, fact-checking methodologies, publishing strategies, and learning to identify fake news.

The speakers stressed on what can happen if journalists, news organizations and social media neglect to fact-check before publishing or for the sake of dramatic storytelling omit important facts. The workshop trained participants to strategically and efficiently fact-check their own biases and their own reporting, even if the reporter has no institutional support. It also showed how to independently verify facts, perform background checks on people and how to use new tools that can help journalists verify when and where an image was taken. Reporters should not only develop a road map to fact-check their own work, they will also learn about investigative skills and tools that will benefit any reporting, and even facilitate distribution, speakers said.

Kashfia Arif Ahmed spoke about the rise of fact-checking organisations around the world and the Bangladesh’s position in that context. The speaker introduced nascent fact-checking initiatives and explained how they are functioning separate from regular newsrooms, acting as watch-dogs.

SM Rezaul Karim, a lecturer of Media Studies and Journalistm at ULAB talked about the historical context of fake news. In his concluding remarks, Rezaul Karim said, “news cannot be a rumour as long as the news going to be difficult to believe. Whether a news is going to be viral is fully related with a lack of transparency”.

The last segment of the fact-checking workshop was to educate the participants practically. Zyma Islam, an investigative journalist at The Daily Star taught participants how to check out fake images, fake news and fake videos. The participants were introduced to online fact-checking tools, that scrape websites and satellite images to find the sources of news and images.

In an era where fake news seem to create alternative realities and threaten the basis of democracy, it is more important than ever that investigative journalism is factually correct, so viewers can trust the reporting.

Professor Media Studies and Journalism and Head of Faculty Research, Sumon Rahman inaugurated the workshop. All speakers present are currently developing Fact Watch.

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