Penplusbytes, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has held a market outreach to sensitise the masses to the upsurge in fake news and its adverse effects.
Dubbed: “Nurturing Trust — A Media and Information Literacy Imperative”, the outreach at the Rawlings Park at Makola in Accra was also to equip the populace to understand, contribute to discourse and decode media messages.
The initiative was part of activities to mark the 2022 Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week.
The activities at the grounds included one-on-one education by the team from Penplusbytes, a question and answer session, and a dance competition.
Participants received souvenirs such as airtime, flasks, polo shirts for their successful involvement in the question and answer segment on the importance of media literacy.
The outreach was in partnership with DW Akademie Ghana, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Ghana, the University of Ghana’s Department of Communication Studies, the Ghana Institute of Journalism and the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO.
The Programme Manager of Penplusbytes, Precious Ankomah, stated that targeting the masses was deliberate.
“This year, Penplusbytes wants to celebrate MIL Week in a different way from what we are used to. We want to step outside and reach out to the masses; this is to ensure inclusivity. MIL is for all women and men equally," she said.
She added that such people should be empowered to know the difference between access to information, knowledge and then sieving it.
"Reason we embarked on the market outreach is our bid to reach the unread and the semi-literate Ghanaian with the message of MIL. With this, they will be fully equipped to better understand the world around them, and contribute meaningfully to it,” she stated.
A trader participant, Yaa Ankomah, told the Daily Graphic that the outreach was an eye opener.
"I have learnt a lot. One is to cross-check from reputable media houses whenever I get these forwarded news articles instead of quickly sharing it," she said.
Another trader, Daniel Owu, shared in his colleague’s remarks, but stressed that sharing fake news also affected one’s reputation.
"You may think it's just news that you are sharing, but if over time, people find out that they are lies, it will now affect your credibility; so we need to be careful," he said.
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organisation driving change through innovations in using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, climate and well-being, and enhancing oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.