FactCheck.lk by Verité Research successfully completed the “Improving the information space in Sri Lanka: An interactive session on fact-checking for journalists” on 4 July 2023 at the Ramada Colombo. The program consisted of three sections: an introduction to FactCheck.lk for the journalists to inform them of the platform’s relevance to their work, and patterns of political misinformation based on findings from FactCheck.lk. The session also included useful tips and tools for accurate, factual reporting and verification for journalists. The sessions were conducted by Verité Research’s Executive Director and Editor-in-chief of FactCheck.lk Dr. Nishan de Mel, Deputy Director of Media and Politics Deepanjalie Abeywardana, Senior Research Analyst Sureni Weerathunga in the Sinhala language. Interpretation was provided in the Tamil language. Assistant Manager of Research Chrishari de Alwis convened the session and Senior Analyst and Manager of FactCheck.lk Mahoshadi Peiris oversaw the development of the course content and coordination of the program.
The 35 participants in the session included journalists from mainstream media, including both print and electronic outlets, as well as journalists representing digital media. These journalists varied in experience levels, ranging from beginners to seasoned professionals. The session successfully fostered a constructive dialogue among the journalists about the increasing necessity of fact-checking in their line of work.
For example, after the session, a post-session evaluation form received 27 responses, and 75% of the participants agreed that they now “feel they have the tools to improve the accuracy of [their] reporting.” Furthermore, the journalists had the opportunity to raise various issues they encountered in their reporting, especially in relation to verification and fact-checking. Through interactive discussions with facilitators and fellow journalists, they were able to find resolutions and practical solutions. The session concluded with an engaging activity where the journalists put into practice the tips they had learned during the session.
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