FRANCIS LUNGU, Kabwe
ACCURATE, balanced and objective information-sharing is critical to personal, institutional and even national decision-making processes that enhance tenets of democracy and propel any country on a development path.
Regrettably, the setting in of technology leading to proliferation of social media platforms has worsened the credibility of shared information, be it on political, social, or even economic matters. Verifying information posted on social media to determine if it is true or false has remained a huge challenge in Zambia and the world at large. Members of the public who are hungry for news and other forms of information have often been exposed to so much unsubstantiated and misleading data from a barrage of online stages. Information users have often been left making wrong decisions based on the misinformation and disinformation they come across. Misinformation is a deliberate effort of twisting facts with the aim of causing a misrepresentation, whereas disinformation is packaging information in a deceptive manner and is mainly associated with propaganda. The concern of unconfirmed information on social media platforms was heightened ahead of the August 12 general election, which saw the Hakainde Hichilema-led United Party for National Development dethroning the Patriotic Front, which ruled Zambia for a decade. Online platforms were crammed with all sorts of information as political players jostled for the virtual space to share their ideologies. Unscrupulous individuals also took advantage of the political information-hungry readers and viewers and posted all manner of unverified data. Against all this misinformation, disinformation and sometimes hate speech background, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zambia partnered with Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) to develop a technology-based solution called iVerify Zambia Mechanism. Other partners on board in the implementation of the iVerify Zambia Mechanism are Bloggers of Zambia and Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia Chapter.
The support is from UNDP’s Democracy Strengthening in CLICK TO READ MORE
FRANCIS LUNGU, Kabwe