The primary mandate of this unit is to ensure media is accountable to their audiences through active citizenry and increased media literacy within the public, communities, and forums. This programme oversees the strategic and administrative activities related to public participation and civic actions to educate the public on various media literacy activities in the fight against mis – and disinformation. Its community activities encourage social media and mainstream media outlets as well as their audiences to engage with one another, with an aim to help communities, media, and the public to come up with initiatives that give people the power to influence the improvements they wish to see.
Through community building and engagement, citizens help the media better serve their needs by getting involved in their communities. Community participation is the driving force behind social transformation, resulting in better outcomes for the poor or underserved members of the public. Community engagement, at its most basic, is the effort to enhance the standard of participation and the demand of accountability from those who hold power in society. It is also a desire to make a positive change in a community via action, combining knowledge, skills, values, motivation, and the need for a fair and just society through accountable and transparent media.
Members of the MMA team check the websites submitted by members of the public via KnowNews Extension daily. With each new addition, our database grows, and we help make news more credible. For each site, we carry out a series of tests and check a range of criteria and then classify them accordingly.
In many instances, classifying and assessing news offering websites can be challenging. Our interest lies not in discerning the political slant of the site but rather in whether the site complies with criteria that would suggest the news they provide adheres to international standards of ethical journalism.
Issues we check include elements around the nature of the website, whether there are clear contact details provided complaints mechanisms as well, we also check on the journalist who provides content and we verify some of the news stories.
Below are the criteria to determine the status of the websites:
Check the advertising: Ads that take up the whole page, Ads that require you to take a survey (complete some other action) before continuing, Ads that redirect you to another page, and Explicit or suggestive ads are common on Dodgy news sites.
Check the URL: A website that has an “HTTPS” tag is usually more secure–and therefore more
trustworthy–than a site using the more common “HTTP” designation.
Check the quality of the story: If you notice some poorly spelt (or missing) words, generally bad grammar, or awkward phrasing, you should question the site’s reliability. Site’s security status in your browser’s address bar: In most browsers, a “safe” website will display a
green padlock icon to the left of the website’s URL.
Contact Us Section: “Contact Us” section. here we look at how much contact information is there. Is an address supplied? What about a phone number? Do the phone numbers work? The more credible information that is supplied, the more confident you should feel about a certain website.
About Us Section: Legitimate websites want you to know all about who they are. They will have an About Us section at the bottom detailing who they are. It’s standard practice for many websites to have this section, if you don’t see an About page, that should raise some serious red flags.
Check other news offering sources: Check if the story is also published by other news publications. In many cases, multiple news sources publish true stories.
Google the Author of stories on a website: Check the author of the stories you are reading, if they are not appearing on other stories as authors, it is a red flag. All in all, we strive to be precise, accurate, and fair.
Knownews is a free Chrome/FireFox extension developed by MMA to respond to the threats associated with dodgy websites. To use the Knownews extension, you’ll need a computer and Internet access. Once the extension installed, a small button is displayed to the right of the web browser to indicate whether the site is a trustworthy media news site. The indicstions include “Fake”, “Questionable”, or “Authentic” or advises that the site is yet to be listed. If it’s not yet reported, you can report the website via the extension for assessment and classification by the team at MMA.
You may not always agree, and they may not always be right, but this is a credible news site.
This site may contain dodgy news. Think twice about trusting any story. Think thrice about sharing.
This site contains news that meets some but not all our criteria. Be extra cautious when engaging with it and check other green sites.
It is a map that includes information on various municipalities across the nation, including the number of residents in each ward.
Wazimap is a user-friendly interactive application that enables the general public to comprehend data and provide context for the location they are looking for.
It is a tool that may provide context and display complex material in a straightforward and understandable manner to aid audiences. It is also much more than that.
Wazimap can also assist the media with election coverage, correlation analysis, and anomaly and inequality detection. It can provide details to a story, serve as its foundation, or highlight a plot hole.
Digital Offences Spotters’ Network is a group of individuals (online activists) who are alarmed by the increase in digital offences on social media platforms such as Mis/Disinformation, incitement, and hate speech in the media.
The goal of this network is to promote factual, truthful, and reputable news while fostering an online environment free from hate speech, harassment of journalists, and incitement.
The program will increase people’s critical thinking and digital literacy in this way, making the jobs of reputable journalists much simpler.
Dispelling false narratives will be beneficial for serving marginalised groups, which frequently fall prey to both scams and false narratives.