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Countering Disinformation in South India: A Regional Media Literacy Initiative

The Asian College of Journalism, administered by the Media Development Foundation, collaborated with the US Consulate General, Chennai on a project titled ‘Countering Disinformation in South India: A Regional Media Literacy Initiative’. The aim of the project was to sensitise regional language journalists in Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada on the topic of disinformation in the media.

The ACJ’s research wing, collaborating with other research organisations in Karnataka and Kerala, conducted preliminary research to understand the nature of disinformation in the regional media. This involved tracking the media for chosen case studies and speaking to journalists, editors, and heads of media organisations. This was followed by three workshops, one each in Chennai, Kochi, and Bangalore, for regional journalists. There was a final conference organised at the ACJ in Chennai with representatives from major media organisations in all the regional languages. The workshops and conference consisted of training sessions on fact-checking, group discussions, panel discussions, and lectures by senior journalists, media practitioners, and fact-checking experts from India and the USA.

As part of this collaboration, a handbook was brought out in English, as well as in the three regional languages of Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam. The handbook puts together basic tools and techniques in fact-checking, along with the best practices to follow in the media, as discussed during the workshops and conference.