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An informal workshop on verifying news and information spread across social media was held recently at Phandeeyar in Yangon, Burma, led by the Foundation's Special Advisor, Sanjana Hattotuwa. Amongst the confirmed participants were:

Media and Media Support Organizations
  • Irrawaddy
  • BBC Media Action
  • Kumudra and Modern Journal
  • Democratic Voice of Burma
  • Myanmar Journalism Institute
Civil Society Organizations
  • PEN Myanmar
  • People in Need
  • Burma Human Rights Network
  • Myanmar ICT Development Organization
  • Center for Diversity and National Harmony
  • Women Peace Arakan Network
Funders, Researchers, INGOS
  • Andaman Research and Advisory
  • Peace Support Fund
  • The Swedish Burma Committee
  • Fortify Rights
  • Humanitarian Dialogue Center

Covering Google, Error Level Analysis for images, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and other topics, the workshop was anchored to the source evaluation module of a longer course run by the ICT4Peace Foundation on the use of new media in crisis management. The workshop also drew on Sanjana's experience of countering-rumors and violent extremism in Sri Lanka. Participants were alerted to several leading social media verification guides, frameworks and best practices from the likes of the BBC, Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Reports, First Draft news and other sources.

Those attending had a range of questions around content, technical issues, platforms, apps and use case scenarios, at a time in Myanmar where the spread of misinformation and disinformation campaigns and content is rife. Sanjana's workshop ties in with activities done with Phandeeyar in the recent past around countering violence extremism online and the production of counter-speech to combat the rise of hate and dangerous speech in the country.