At 100 years, Makerere University should be teaching fact checking and news verification, a skill that every communicator, journalist and social media user needs.
This is a skill so useful for everyone who uses the media and is likely to receive or share misinformation.
Fact-checking has become more and more important in the world and fake news has become trendy yet we rely on the internet to connect and get informed.
Makerere should be championing the next generation of fact checkers, who should not only verify misinformation but are aware of its impact to themselves and to others.
Health misinformation has the potential to misdiagnose people or even deny others the right to good health. By teaching our known students such a skillset, we are empowering them to be conscious about the information they share and think before they disseminate fake news like clickbaits.
The University through collaboration with several fact checking Organizations in Uganda and across Africa, can provide lecturers with the necessary knowledge and skills to teach fact checking.
There are also fact checking guides and training that the university community can check out.
Globally, people make decisions every day – decisions that impact public health, human rights, development issues, business and daily life. We have over 4,000 graduates every year who become civil society members, policymakers or legal officers.
These individuals make decisions based on the information available to them and sometimes that information is misleading or wrong.
A fact checking training, guide, course, lecturer or skill is one bound to equip our student population and community with the necessary knowledge and skills to debunk fake news and also use the media/social media responsibly.
Our ability to check the accuracy of claims themselves will ultimately promote accuracy and honesty in the public and the media in Uganda.