Sunday, July 21, 2024

Sunshine Cinema Collaborating with Journalists to Fight Misinformation


By Uyapo Majahana

At a time when misinformation and disinformation are prevalent, journalists and other media practitioners must stay abreast of the latest discourses and topical information prevalent in their communities.

Work done by organisations such as the Sunshine Cinema, a non-profit media organisation nurturing active citizenship by training young people in film, photography and audience facilitation deserves a special mention in the annals of African journalism advancement.

They equip their trained ambassadors with tools to host free solar cinema screenings of African films, where they mobilise communities to spark conversations on various issues like mental health and renewable energy sources, sexual health, misinformation and disinformation, and electoral processes among others.

The organisation also runs a podcast series where they talk to journalists, community leaders, filmmakers, and civil society groups about current affairs.

The organisation is operational in four southern African countries including South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Sydelle Willow Smith, the co-founder of Sunshine Cinema, said theirprogramme in Zimbabwe aims to engage journalists and develop the media space in the Matabeleland regions of Zimbabwe.

“The main focus for us in trying to reach journalists with misinformation, disinformation and fake news content is to ensure that fact-checking, correct reporting and ethical standards are being adhered to and that things are not creeping through the cracks. We offer training and knowledge exchange opportunities for younger storytellers. That has been the crux of the work we have been doing in the country since 2019. This project is a development from original work that we started with Internews, under the Zimbabwe Media Development Programme,” she said.

Pretty Nxumalo, Sunshine Cinema Zimbabwe programme manager, said they have been targeting journalists because they are experts and at the epicenter in the field of news and information gathering and dissemination and can therefore provide valuable insight and practical advice to their listeners. She said as trusted sources of information, journalists are in a unique position to counteract misinformation and disinformation and offer a well-rounded perspective on the complex issues around misinformation and disinformation.

“For our podcast series, our Sunbox ambassadors talk to journalists and community members who participate in our screenings as well as representatives of civil society organisations that we usually partner with. Some journalists have extensive training in fact-checking and verifying sources and presenting accurate information to the public, so interviewing them about how they handle misinformation and disinformation provides valuable insights into how they approach their work and how they verify the information before publishing it.

“Journalists also share experiences about dealing with misinformation and disinformation, and offer some of the tips that they use that can be useful to our listeners. We have also noticed that journalists give unique perspectives on the role of media and its effort in combating misinformation and disinformation,” she said.

Nxumalo said Sunshine Cinema has been engaging journalists in its programmes also because of their critical role in ensuring that accurate and reliable information is shared with the public, especially at this time when Zimbabwe is preparing for its 2023 elections in August.

In this digital era, social media has given false information wings to spreads rapidly, and now journalists cannot easily keep up to ensure that accurate information drowns out the fake news in circulation.

Source, Jamlab.Africa

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