MUSICIAN and activist Fumba Chama says the consumption of social media is very revolutionary.
Speaking after a response partners workshop for iVerify Zambia fact checking mechanism organised by Panos Institute Southern Africa, Chama said the quality of the usage was not yet the best as could be seen from the quality of engagement with each other at different levels.
Panos is implementing a new technology based, multi-stakeholder fact checking and response mechanism designed to support the collective and timely identification and mitigation of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech in Zambia.
Chama said the initiative by Panos in partnership with other stakeholders was necessary especially during elections because information influences how people vote.
“Any misinformation or disinformation could cost us a country and must be addressed. The intervention by Panos and other partners presents us an opportunity to verify the news we come across both on social media and the mainstream media,” he said.
Chama said people were currently subjected to mediocre conversations even from individuals and institutions they once held in high regard therefore a platform for ordinary citizens and journalists to verify the information was very important for Zambia.
“The consumption of social media is very revolutionary, I must say, as we continue to see numbers growing even in rural areas of Zambia. The quality of this usage is not yet the best as we can tell from the quality of our engagement with each other at different levels,” said Chama. “But I am so hopeful that with time the quality can be improved as the users of social media access necessary information and get access to resources that could not be accessible previously.”
The mechanism is being implemented by Panos Institute Southern Africa, in collaboration with MISA Zambia and the Bloggers of Zambia, supported by the UNDP’s “Democracy Strengthening in Zambia” (DSZ) project and the UNDP Joint Task Force on Electoral Assistance (JTF).