Accra,- Mr Khalil Hachimi Idrissi, President of the Atlantic Federation of African Press Agencies (FAAPA), has urged African Governments to provide adequate financial assistance to their news agencies to ensure their upgrading and development.
Expressing concern over the wave of fake news on the internet and social networks, he said news agencies must be well-resourced to be able to respond to the emerging concerns and adapt to the technological changes in the media space.
The dissemination of fake news was not only a challenge for news agencies but also for the States, as it undermined the preservation of national sovereignty, Mr Idrissi said.
The FAAPA President expressed his concerns to Ghana News Agency in an interview via email.
The preservation of national sovereignty, he said, must, therefore, involve the consolidation of the public service, strengthening and support of news agencies, which he said were professional structures endowed with ethics and networks.
Mr Mr Idrissi said if the African news agencies developed a dynamic culture of public good, professionalism and cross-checking information, they would be able to reverse the wave of fake news, negatively impacting information dissemination.
“…there is the need to strengthen skills in fact-checking and the fight against fake news, a better training of journalists in the production of innovative content, and the increase in African information on the web through the integration of social networks,” he said.
He, however, noted that the lack of financial and human resources constrained the advancement of many African news agencies.
Mr Idrissi said it had become imperative to rethink the economic model of African news agencies and the written press in general, in the wake of the economic recession occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Established in October 2014, the FAAPA is a professional platform that brings together 30 news agencies and observer members from across the continent.
Its purpose is to promote cooperation and exchange of experiences among African news agencies in all areas of common interest, including information, communication, training, information technology and multimedia products.
Since its formation seven years ago, the Organisation has grown to become one of the largest professional groups on the continent, and a leading aggregator of African news disseminated by the various African news agencies through their websites and the FAAPA website.
The FAAA this year ranked the GNA first among 30 news agencies in Africa in terms of the number of stories contributed to the Organisation’s website.
Data compiled by the FAAPA from January 1 to October 31, 2021, indicate that the contributions of the member agencies to its website were 29,324 news items, a daily average of 96.78.
The GNA delivered 7,716 dispatches, followed by the Ivorian News Agency (AIP) with 5,300 dispatches and the Senegalese News Agency (APS) with 3,820 dispatches.
Mr Idrissi urged the members of the pan-African federation to contribute more to the development of the FAAPA site and to feed it daily with articles and photos.
That, he said, would help to inform internet users around the world and to highlight the activities of African news agencies.
Source: Ghana News Agency