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Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

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By Francis Arinze Iloani

As the Edo and Ondo States Election approaches, we have identified eight types of political disinformation [otherwise known as propaganda] designed and viciously disseminated to sway the choices of would-be voters. In fact, a recent article, by Iwok Iniobong titled “Edo, Ondo guber: Why politicians, parties must tread softly,” posited that politicians in Edo and Ondo campaigns had deviated from their manifestos in favour of spreading misinformation and disinformation. “If you observe very well, presentation of manifestos is no longer the in-thing, but the campaign is about use of base language and innuendos against opponents,” Iniobong said. 

Exhibit 1 – there were several opposing information circulated through the media, particularly the social media, on the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s entourage at the Oba of Benin Palace. 

The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, alleged that “the attack was a plot to eliminate Governor Obaseki, national officials of PDP and some PDP governors.”

Conversely, the Vice Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) National Campaign Council, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, alleged that the PDP was responsible for the attack and that Governor Obaseki was planning to arrest and detain the former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on the eve of the election.

Bearing this in mind and being conscious of the reality that some media consumers may not have the required media literacy to easily detect propaganda from the legion of information in the media, here are the eight ways to easily detect propaganda in the media: 

Bandwagon veiled as information

Politicians veil propaganda as information in the form of bandwagon. The idea here is to convey the notion that if you don’t get aboard you will be left out. A media literate consumer should watch out for politicians who direct their appeals to groups held together by common ties. For instance, politicians at subnational levels in Nigeria are likely to rely on bandwagon effects if their party is in charge at the federal level. It is widely shared that the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari contributed to the victory of some governors and lawmakers. A media literate person should be able to notice media messages designed to appeal to sentiments of voters based on common ties, rather than merits.

Name calling as against genuine manifestos

Be careful of politicians who appeal to your hate and fear.  They do name calling by the use of negative words or labels to create prejudice against some person, group or idea. For instance, Dr. Charles Omorodion’s article titled “Edo 2020: Beware of Obaseki’s perfidy, betrayal and Judas Kiss!” published on Bloomshire stated that “as a betrayal, in a deeper sense, Obaseki is sending an ominous signal of how little he cares about, or values his relationship with APC.” A media literate person should judge Obaseki beyond the tag of “a betrayer.” Name calling cuts across all the political campaigners in Edo and Ondo States.

Reliance on testimonial

Politicians deploying testimonial propaganda use experts, celebrities, or perceived opinion leaders to offer reasons why they are best suited to be elected.  As the elections in Edo and Ondo States draw nearer, you are likely to see more celebrity endorsements of candidates. For instance, a national newspaper recently reported that  teachers in Ondo State under the auspices of the National Network of Teachers for Good Governance and Quality Education endorsed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for a second term in office. A media literate news consumer reasons beyond such propaganda and focuses more on Governor Akeredolu’s manifesto for his second term. 

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QandA

  • When is the Edo election holding? 

The Edo governorship election has been scheduled for September 19th.

  • How many Candidates are on the INEC final list for Edo election?

According to the final list of candidates released by the Independent Electoral Commission, there are 14 candidates in total. From the 14 governorship candidates, only 2 are females.  The two female governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).


What can you do? 

Be alert, share our tips and don’t share false news! 


Coronavirus infection count 

Note: Total cases may be more than officially stated owing to the inability to include unconfirmed cases. Stay safe!


Tip of the week 


#FakeNews Alert 

Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? Who is your source’s source? Has this been published by another platform? Is this a wrong headline? Is the figure accurate? Has it been Over/Under stated? Be sure to verify the content of this report before sharing.

Questions to ask yourself:  What is the evidence behind this number? Is there a proof? Is this a misleading statement? What is the intention of the speaker? You may be shocked what you’ll find out.


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