Internews, in partnership with the Google News Initiative (GNI), has trained thousands of journalists in India and Indonesia to combat disinformation and misinformation using Google and other tools to conduct online verification, data searches, reverse image searches and video verification.
On April 2 on International Fact-Checking Day, many of the trainers who participated in GNI in India took to Twitter to promote the fight against misinformation using the hashtags #FactcheckingDay and #GNITruthWarrior among others. The event is promoted by the International Fact-Checking Network, a project of the Poynter Institute in partnership with fact-checking organizations around the world, who believe in equipping citizens, journalists, professional fact-checkers and educators with resources to help separate fact from fiction. Fact-Checking Day is a rallying cry for more facts in politics, journalism, and everyday life.
In 2018, Google, Internews and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), with support from numerous other local CSO and media partners, launched the Google News Initiative Indonesia Training Network. To date, the program has reached almost 1,000 journalists and more than 1,050 students and youth leaders in 25 cities across Indonesia. In 2019, more than 3,000 journalists and journalism students in Indonesia will be engaged, reaching tens of millions of Indonesians with trusted, reliable content.
The Google News Initiative India Training Network was launched by Google in July 2018 with an aim to support journalists across India in their fight against misinformation ahead of key elections in the country. The year 2018 witnessed at least 30 Indians losing their lives in mob violence fueled primarily by fake messages circulating on the internet. The mainstream media often found itself ill-prepared to tackle this new challenge and even fell for fake news on several instances. This left millions of internet users in India no way to find out if news that was sent to them was true.
“Online misinformation was a new challenge for everyone in India. Some journalists described it as the biggest issue facing the industry,” said Surabhi Malik, Internews Program Director of the Google News Initiative Training Network. “Many who I met during my workshops were keen to know how they could pitch in to tackle this growing menace and help their readers sift facts from the sea of misinformation.”
With the support of past and current partners, the initiative in India has so far trained almost 8000 journalists and journalism students, conducted bootcamps in multiple local languages, onboarded 241 trainers and conducted 200+ workshops in newsrooms, colleges and press clubs across 40+ cities in India. The GNI India Training Network hopes to be able to train at least 8000 journalists on fact-checking and online verification in 2019.