Debunking political disinformation through Journalists' perceptions: an analysis of Colombia's fact-checking news practices

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Cogitatio Press
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Fact-checking alliances emerged worldwide to debunk political disinformation in electoral contexts because of social concerns related to information authenticity. This study, thus, included the Latin American context in fact-checking journalism studies as a journalistic practice to fight political disinformation. Through analyzing RedCheq, the first fact-checking journalism alliance in an electoral regional context led by Colombiacheck, 11 in-depth interviews were conducted to identify the perceptions of regional fact-checkers regarding the usefulness of this journalistic practice, its achievements, and the key aspects for incorporating fact-checking into the regional media ecosystem. The study results revealed that RedCheq achieved the goal of fighting disinformation, and that fact-checking developed as transformational leverage for the regional media. Regional journalists perceived fact-checking as an element that restores credibility and social trust in regional media as the epistemology of this journalistic practice neglects the power pressure and dissemination of official narratives. Finally, this study highlighted how fact-checking journalism contributes to the democratic quality and civic empowerment in silenced and polarized environments. In addition, it discussed the need to expand fact-checking journalism's coverage to new geographical areas and improve journalists' professional competencies and training, thereby enabling them to function as using verification tools based on regional journalists' requirements.
Colombia, Disinformation, Elections, Fact-Checking, Journalism, Political Communication, Political Journalism, Verification
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Media and Communication. Vol. 9, n. 1 (2021), pp 264-275