Journalists from eight media outlets across Bosnia and Herzegovina had an opportunity to hone their fact-checking skills and learn about resources available to verify user-generated and other content on digital media platforms. During the two-day workshop, participants engaged in a discussion about (1) the future of Bosnian journalism and their role to educate, inform and provide a forum for democratic debate in an era of misinformation, disinformation, and attacks on press; (2) challenges and opportunities posed by rapid expansion of digital technologies and communication platforms, including use of artificial intelligence in creating so-called “deep fakes”; and (3) journalistic responses to disinformation, directly and through media and information literacy programs. The training presented a number of case studies involving media coverage or unwitting distribution of disinformation and fraudulent news. Students were also engaged in deconstruction and analysis of what’s called “fake news,” and — as part of the exercise — they were tasked to utilize the deconstruction process, create a fraudulent story and assess what made that story look authentic.
During hands-on sessions, journalists fact-checked recent statements by local public officials, utilizing tips, strategies, and techniques presented by the USAGM trainer and used newly acquired knowledge of free and widely available digital tools to verify provenance and authenticity of visual content published on social media. The workshop was designed with an idea that editors who participated in the training will introduce these verification resources into their newsrooms and, and help spread them to other media outlets.