NewsSierra Leone

DUBAWA trains University of Makeni students on Information Disorder

DUBAWA, the fact-checking arm of the Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID), has held a day’s training on fact-checking and verification for students at the University of Makeni (UNIMAK) Sierra Leone on Tuesday 28th June 2022.

Sponsored by DUBAWA in collaboration with the Department of Communication at the Fatima Campus of the University, the training was to equip students with the skills and tools for fact checking and verification which have become essential in the practice of journalism across the world. The training targeted at least 50 students from the university’s Mass Communication department.

Speaking on the significance of the training, the Programme Officer for Dubawa – Sierra Leone, Alie Tarawally, said Information Disorder, which essentially is false information to misform, mislead, or malign people has caused enormous problems in the sub-region and the world must be curtailed.

DUBAWA trains University of Makeni students on Information Disorder

DUBAWA, he noted, is purposely designed to fight this disorder in the sub-region and to ensure citizens are fed with accurate and wholesome information.

According to Mr. Tarawally, the negative impact of information disorder during the civil war, the Ebola, COVID-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated, adding “there is need to arm young journalists and communication professionals with the necessary tools of verification in order to fight this canker once and for all.”

He further underscored the importance of social media and encouraged the students to make social media their friends as journalists. He was also quick to add that social media is one of the vehicles used in spreading information disorder and so students must be careful to use their new skills well.

In her presentation via Zoom, Lois Ugbede, who is a Researcher at DUBAWA Nigeria, noted that the sourcing of claims is a crucial issue which needs to be adequately addressed. She added that as journalism students, going an extra mile to verify a claim before sharing it would be worthwhile and would help in the fight against information disorder.

She mentioned that fact-checking as a means to verify a news/claim has become so essential that its significance cannot be underestimated.

While admonishing the students to put into practice what they have learned, Ugbede told the participants to be ambassadors against fake news in the country.

Silas Jonathan, a Researcher at DUBAWA, Nigeria also took the participants through the “Importance of the Forensic Toolkit” used by researchers/fact-checkers to verify a claim in a picture or a video. He noted that one cannot fact-check a claim by using his or her ordinary eyes because it could be misconstrued.

He added that a fact-checker or journalist must exercise a good amount of patience and professionalism while verifying a claim. He emphasised that fact-checkers must be conversant with the forensic toolkit which helps in determining whether a video or a picture shared is doctored or not. 

He took time to teach the participants how to get the forensic toolkits and use them to verify pictures and videos.

In closing, Silas encouraged the students to master the forensic toolkits, such as Yandex, Google Reverse Search, and Invid so that they can verify whether a picture or a video shared is altered or not.

The participants, on their part, commended DUBAWA for the wonderful training which they believed would help them in their fight against information disorder. For most of them, this training has been novel, especially the section on forensic toolkits.

The trainees made individual commitments to improve themselves using the forensic toolkits and pleaded with Dubawa to organize a series of similar training for them and other Mass Communication students in other universities in the country.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button