The Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia (WMC) has launched an information verification website named ‘Crosscheck WMC’ to combat the spread of misinformation on social media. It will enable the public to verify information from a number of sources to identify whether the information is true or otherwise.
A WMC press release said the site is an important first step in the fight against fake news, which has become widespread in Cambodian society.
WMC executive director Oung Chanthol said the site aims to make crosschecking information easier by providing the public with verified and accurate information.
“The creation of Crosscheck WMC is the first information authentication site in Cambodia and a commitment to disseminating accurate information.
“We expect it to promote a sustainable response to misinformation and ensure media responsibility in this country,” she said at the launch event in Phnom Penh on Friday.
Crosscheck programme director Yib Chhengleap said in his presentation that true and fake news on social media is spread fast and widely, prompting the public to face difficulty in identifying what is true and false.
“Crosscheck WMC will display all the information you find on this site, whether it is true or false, and to what extent it is reliable.
“We have three signs that verify the information. The blue sign indicates that the information you are looking for is reliable. If orange is present, the data is only 50 per cent reliable. And if it shows a red sign, that means the information you’re looking at is fake,” he said.
Journalism lecturer and an adviser to the Ministry of Information Moeun Chhean Nariddh said the ministry is also paying close attention to the spread of misinformation on social media, which is detrimental to social harmony.
He said misinformation is currently increasing amid the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, which has led some opportunists to spread false information for their own benefit.
“In the near future, the Ministry of Information will hold a forum to discuss the same theme – true and fake news,” he said.
“Recently, a reporter on Facebook posted misinformation about a person with the virus in Sihanoukville, saying he is in the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital. If the report was not corrected on time, there would have been turmoil at the hospital,” he said.
Iea Sonita, a 19-year-old student at the Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said the site was only a contributing factor to the prevention of misinformation.
She said the government, consumers, and especially journalists themselves also have to step up in the fight against fake news.
“This site allows us to check accurate information. However, users must actually learn how to use this technology because access to the site could be difficult persons. But our country has a lot of youth. I think it’s not difficult if they just get more involved,” she said.