The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), formerly Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), through its fact-checking platform, Dubawa, will on Friday send forth fellows of its 2021 fact checking fellowship cohort.
The fellowship will come to a close at an award and dinner event, slated to hold at Corinthian Villa Hotel, Garki Abuja, on Friday, February 25.
This 2021 cohort is the third set of fellows to graduate since the platform initiated the fellowship in 2019.
The six-month fellowship, inspired by the need to tackle the menace of misinformation and disinformation in West Africa and beyond, started in May 2021 and came to an end in November 2021.
The fellowship was organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) for journalists in new media platforms (online blogs), radio and TV stations in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia with the aim of writing truth-based and factual stories and also to institute a culture of fact-checking in newsrooms across West Africa.
At the dinner and award ceremony, some fellows will be awarded based on their performance throughout the fellowship.
Speaking on the importance of the fellowship, the current Acting Executive Director of the organisation, Dr Tobi Oluwatola, said he is proud of what the fellowship stands for.
“Verification is central to the work of accountability journalism that advances democratic values. We at CJID are proud of the work that this year’s fellows have done and continue to do in their various newsrooms,” he said.
Similarly, the Dubawa West Africa manager, Caroline Anipah, is hopeful the fellows will continue to make use of what they learnt during the fellowship.
“This year’s fellowship, as always, has been largely successful. For the first time since it started, we’ve had fellows join us from Liberia and, like their counterparts in the other countries, their contributions have been enormous. We are sad to see them go but we believe they have been adequately equipped, with the mentorship they’ve undergone in the six months of the fellowship, to tackle misinformation and disinformation in their respective countries. We are still on hand to assist them in whatever way we can,” she said.
In the same vein, the editor of Dubawa, Kemi Busari, expressed delight at the successful completion of the fellowship. He wants the fellows to continue to propagate the idea of fact-checking beyond the fellowship.
“These fellows have gone through training and mentorship in the past months, we hope the knowledge gained doesn’t stop there. We want them to train other colleagues, set up fact-checking desks and propagate widely the idea of fact-checking in their local communities,” he said.
The 2021 Dubawa fellowship was sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).