International Fact Checking Day Thailand
FNF FactsCollabTH Event to Celebrate International Fact Checking Day

Frederic Spohr Head of Thailand and Myanmar

Frederic Spohr Head of Thailand and Myanmar at the FNF Foundation gave an opening remark at FactsCollabTH on the 2 April 2022

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FNF was honoured to be part of an event that continues to internationally pave the way forward in recognizing the importance of fact checking. National and International speakers from AFP, Rappler, Google, Malaysiakini, ThaiPBS, MCOT, SONP, The National Press Council of Thailand, and Annie Lab Lead at the University of Hong Kong were a part of this hybrid event.  Frederic Spohr, Head of Thailand and Myanmar for FNF, opened the forum for discussion with a clear message “There is always a necessity to search for facts. Journalist acts as frontline gatekeepers for ensuring that the message is accurate and the public is well-informed”

According to 2022 Eldeman trust barometer survey, “government leaders and journalists are seen as the least trusted societal leaders today, with less than half of the respondent trusting either” it is transparent that the trend for scepticism is now on the rise. Trustworthy information has become increasingly more difficult to find, as the number of user-generated content continues to escalate. However, multi-billion tech companies such as Google are taking action by cross-checking information and putting the most reliable information first in their search results. Google also has an additional webpage dedicated as the Fact Check Explorer.  In addition, Agence France-Presse (AFP) generated AFP Fact Check, a site dedicated to disparage “Fake News”. AFP uses tools such as reverse image searches, identifying the geolocation of the image, and have journalist present in the field to counter disinformation.

FactCollabTH

The way forward to counter disinformation is achievable. Many of the speakers highlighted that fact-checking should be taught in all educational institutions, civil society organizations and religious institutions. In addition, internal discussions within family units and work spaces can also build immunity in the society towards disinformation. Technology can also be a leverage to this advantage, in particular, Blockchain and Facebook AI to track and validate the reliability of user-generated content. Finally, governments must realize the importance of fact-checking and increase the resources within this industry.

International fact-checking day may act as a reminder of the importance of dispelling disinformation, but it is clear that everyday should be a fact checking day. Fact-checking is a powerful mechanism in response to disinformation targeting health, economy, national security and democracy.

*Sky Chatuchinda is the regional communication officer for the office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Bangkok, Thailand.