Muscat, 6 Apr (ONA) —- The Ministry of Information, represented by the Government Communication Centre and the Media Training Centre, organized a training workshop about cross-checking news and verifying sources and digital media.
The workshop, held via videoconferencing, saw the participation of Dr. Abdullah Nassir al-Harrasi, Minister of Information.
In a speech during the opening ceremony, Dr. Abdullah said that rumours and wrong information pose an additional challenge to society, now focusing its powers to tackle coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. He added that such negative reports, based on unfounded and unscientific concepts, undermine the government’s efforts to spread awareness about the risks of the virus.
The minister pointed out that, over the past period, misinformation fed by such rumours on alleged harms of Covid-19 control vaccines became so intriguing to the extent that some individuals, particularly the old-aged, hesitated in taking the highly-needed vaccines. “This compromises their lives and the lives of their families and society and exposes all to immense threats that might lead to death,” said Dr. Abdullah.
Besides spreading public awareness, the two-day workshop illustrates the nature of false news, the way they spread and means to avoid falling prey to them amid the abundance and easy access to use advanced digital tools.
The workshop studies the history of false news, methods of their dissemination and means of scrutinizing them, irrespective of their format—be it in images, video clips or otherwise.
The workshop looks into verification strategies and instruments of probing fake sites, accounts, platforms, applications and social networks.
Over the past one year (March 2020 to March 2021), the Government Communication Centre, through its account “Oman Confronts Coronavirus”, nullified more than 70 rumours in the same context.