Ethical use of AI helps the watchdog role of journalism: Policy Director of the World Wide Web Foundation

Ethical use of AI helps the watchdog role of journalism: Policy Director of the World Wide Web Foundation

by Eyayu Alemayahu


ADDIS ABABA -- ‘Artificial Intelligence is the best tool in assisting the watchdog role of journalism’ said Nnenna Nwakanma, policy director of the World Wide Web Foundation.

The World Wide Web Forum, or Web Forum, states its mission is to promote “digital equality” through expanding access to internet and communications technology.

Speaking at a panel discussion yesterday on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Journalism’ as part of the World Press Freedom Day event being held at the African Union, the Web Forum director stressed the importance of AI in journalism practices.

While acknowledging the challenges that media industry may face from the invention of artificial intelligence (AI), if managed well, Nwakanma said, it could become the best assistant for journalism.

While AI has come under attack from some critics, especially in the journalism industry which is already suffering massive cuts due to social media technology cutting into its business model, Nwakema brought a different outlook.

According to Nwakema, AI technology can actually enhance the watchdog role of journalism in a manner that traditional “human-based” journalism would not be able to accomplish, specifically in data gathering and analysis.

By analyzing massive sets of data and pointing to relationships not easily visible to people, Artificial Intelligence will help journalists to do more investigative work, Nwakanma said.

AI and journalism can contribute to a more informed and efficient societies by enabling journalists to conduct deep analysis, uncover misconducts, and make people and institutions accountable, she stated. 

“Especially in a society that has ‘a culture of secrecy,’ AI has a vital role … to bring out facts and to make people accountable,” she said.

However, Nwakanma stated, it is important that media practitioners must use AI ethically.   

“The outcome depends on how individuals utilize it.” 


Photo credit: ldi Diasse