South Africa is Tackling Fake News Head-on Ahead of May Elections
The Independent Electoral Commission has launched a strategy to combat fake news.
South Africans will be heading to the polls on the 8th of May to cast their votes in the national elections. The time between then and now is critical as political parties will be doing all that they can to win votes. That said, to prevent the spreading of fake news (slander, false allegations and all kinds of misinformation), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has launched a pilot project to combat fake news.
Chief election officer, Sy Mamabolo, commented saying:
"No party wishes to see its key messages distorted or abused. In this regard, they have welcomed the idea of a political advertisement repository where any member of the public can check for themselves the veracity of campaign material and quickly determine whether the poster or pamphlet has been photoshopped or otherwise altered to undermine the party."
The IEC's pilot project will involve Media Monitoring Africa which has established Real411.org, a website through which South Africans can lodge their complaints and have them forwarded to the IEC for an executive ruling. With recent incidents of journalists being intimidated on social media, cases of online intimidation will be investigated along with rogue journalists deliberately spreading misinformation.
The pilot project will hopefully be transparent and ensure that South Africa's road to elections is as fair and honest as can possibly be.