DUBAWA, the fact-checking arm of the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), has commenced a three-day fact-checking training workshop for state actors and other civil society organisations in Liberia.
The training, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is geared towards building the digital verification and fact-checking capacity of state actors.
Already, there are some disinformation campaigns by stakeholders as the country prepares for its presidential and legislative elections to be held on October 10, 2023.
The training by DUBAWA brought together over 20 public relations officers of various government institutions and civil society groupings in Liberia, including the Ministries of Education and Information, the National Elections Commission (NEC), and the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD).
Speaking during the opening of the three-day training workshop, Ms Caroline Anipah, Deputy Director of Fact-checking, Verification and Media Literacy Practice, stated that it is important at this time to do more of these kinds of training in Liberia to empower state actors on issues relating to information disorder as the electorate goes to the polls.
Ms Anipah indicated that false information impairs decision-making and engenders havoc in a democracy.
“At CJID, we promote good democratic governance and development, and so we have a number of programmes through which we achieve our goals. We will use those of you here as agents to impact the larger society since we cannot reach the entire population,” Ms Anipah noted.
Topics discussed at the training include Democracy and Good Governance: The Intersection between Accountability, Journalism and Civic Participation, News Industry Transformation, the Rise of Social Media and The Spread of Online Vices, Contemporary Responses to Information, Disorder and Online Vices, Fact-checking and Digital Verification of Images and Videos.
For their part, participants at the training expressed huge gratitude to DUBAWA for the knowledge and skills provided. Also, they highlighted some key points on how the media, civil society, and government can partner in ensuring good governance and development in Liberia.
Grace Princess Tarwo, assistant minister at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), said that both the civil society and the media, in collaboration with the national government, all work collectively to play a pivotal role in good governance and democracy.
Assistant Minister Tarwo indicated that it is the sole responsibility of the government’s institutions to promote good governance, while the media is to provide balanced and accurate information to the public and the civil society to create awareness about the rights of the citizenry.
Another participant, Armah B. Johnson, Program Officer of the Independent Information Commission (IIC), said that access to information is very important for good governance and development.
Johnson indicated that the media and civil society should always be included in programmes that tend to create awareness of access to information because the media is the link between the people and the government.
The training ended on Wednesday, August 30.