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A webinar titled ‘Factchecking and News Literacy in the Age of Disinformation’ was held on October 20, 2022.

This was the fourth webinar and fifth online event in the Future of Journalism in South Asia series, a collaboration between the Center for Investigative Reporting Sri Lanka, and Media Unlimited, Pakistan. The initiative was supported by the Meta Journalism Project and was attended by 73 journalists from the four South Asian countries: #Bangladesh, #Pakistan, #SriLanka and #Nepal.

Panelists for this webinar included Dr. Sumon Rahman, Editor FactWatch from Bangladesh, H.R. Venkatesh, Director Training & Research, BOOM FactCheck from India, Deepak Adhikari, Editor Nepal Check from Nepal and Nicole Han, Strategic Partner Development, Integrity Programs and Partnerships, APAC. The session was moderated by Dilrukshi Handunnetti, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Reporting Sri Lanka.

Kamal Siddiqi, Director, Media Unlimited, Pakistan welcomed the speakers and participants to the webinar and gave a brief introduction of the series. He was followed by Kamal Liyanage, Operations Consultant, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), Sri Lanka who gave a details about CIR and its journey so far.

Yu Yu Din, Strategic Partner Manager, APAC News Partnerships, Meta talked about Meta’s Journalist Safety Hub and encouraged participants to explore Meta’s Human Rights Report that has been launched this year.

H.R. Venkatesh in his opening comments spoke about how it is vital that journalism be practiced in the language of the people of a region and stressed that there was a need to have more local journalism.

Deepak Adhikari talked about the importance of factchecking after natural disasters and during health issues like Covid. He said there was a lot of misinformation during such times, and this caused a lot of anxiety in communities.

The last speaker Nicole Han informed the audience about how Meta sometimes depended on independent factcheckers from a country to tackle misinformation from that country. Han said there is no single way to determine if a post contains misinformation or not, as technology keeps changing.

She added that Meta does not fact check politicians or those running for elections, as it believes in free discourse and encourages freedom of speech.

This was followed by a very vibrant Q&A session.

Each speaker gave their concluding remarks and the webinar concluded with Lubna Jerar of Media Unlimited, Pakistan giving the thank you note.

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