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“Fake News”: Understanding the Scourge in Nigeria

5 mins read

By Ebele Oputa

There have been studies conducted on what exactly constitutes “fake news” and its variants. Researchers have looked into the Nigerian examples of ‘fake news’, its mode of transmission, the reasons it spreads in Nigeria, its impact on our democracy as well as possible structural solutions to the menace. 

Yet, there is a need for a holistic view of the issues around the scourge within the Nigerian context. This article adopts the method of contextual analysis of a selected studies, situating the studies within the Nigerian milieu, assessing the positions of the authors, experts, readers (including offline and online audience) and other texts to understand the scourge. 

Findings show that ‘fake news’ thrives in Nigeria in its different variants. These variants include misinformation, disinformation and mal-information. It finds out that the nation’s culture of ‘closed’ (as opposed to open) governance, which thrives on official secrecy and dearth of timely official information is a recipe for the scourge to spread. It also finds out that increased Nigeria’s population on social media and other digital space is an escape route from muffled voices in the mainstream; an avenue to create, share and distribute contents of all sorts, many of which populate the misinformation ecosystem in Nigeria.  

Structural Solutions to Fake News in Nigeria

While the Nigerian government has launched a “public campaign against fake news” (Premium Times, 2018) and has also launched “campaigns to media houses and cooperation with Facebook and Google” (AllAfrica, 2020), other experts have added some therapies, and these include…

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Fact checks of the week

On Wednesday, August 12, the Youth Development Centre, an arm of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, organised a virtual event to mark the 2020 International Youth Day where the…

A tweet by the Ondo State APC claims that Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor of the state, constructed a Textile Mill at Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub in Ore. How True?

On Tuesday 18th August, 2020, a 4-seconds video of Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, where he said schools will reopen in September, 2020, surfaced…


QandA

What is the update on Coronavirus?

The United States Centre for Disease Control has updated its testing guidelines: As opposed to the previous provision which recommended testing for anyone that has been in close contact with a carrier of COVID-19, the new guideline permits the person to go without testing if without symptoms. It says“If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) of a person with a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes but do not have symptoms, you do not necessarily need a test unless you are a vulnerable individual or your health care provider or State or local public health officials recommend you take one.”

It also implies that people who don’t have Covid-19 symptoms and haven’t been in close contact with someone with a known infection do not need a test. (Continue reading)

The Russian government is in communication with India for partnership over COVID-19 Vaccine (Sputnik V) production.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Disease Control in Nigeria (NCDC) has revealed that the majority of Nigerians who contracted COVID-19 so far did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another individual with the virus, meaning that the origin of their infection is unknown. Also, the Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye,  revealed that 40 herbal medicines are undergoing scrutiny for the treatment of COVID-19.  Similarly, the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) investigated some drug stores in the country over outrageous hiking of prices of hydroxychloroquine, a controversial anti-malaria drug used for COVID-19 treatment. According to this report by Premium Times, the price hike began after Dr Stella endorsed the drug as a COVID-19 cure.

Are schools resuming September 7th?

Dubawa has examined the viral video portraying Adamu Adamu -Minister of Education – as saying schools will resume September 2020. Its findings show that the 4-second video is doctored and the original version is about 4-year-old.  (keep reading here)

Why was the resumption of international flights postponed?

In response to the COVID-19 threats, in the country, the Nigerian Government had placed a ban on both international and national flights. While the latter has commenced operations,  the Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika announced that International flights will resume August 29th

However, on Thursday, August 27th, the Ministry of Aviation via its Twitter handle says the date is no longer feasible, hence, presents a new one – September 5th. This is owing to the fact that the Ministry is yet to put essential things in place.


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: When and Where did this happen? Who is the source? Has this been published by another platform? Is this a wrong headline? News or PR? You may be shocked what you’ll find out.

On first sight, this claim brings back the memory of the rumoured secret wedding between  President Muhammadu Buhari’s and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar. Is this Invitation card genuine or it is just another falsehood? 

Do not share the information if you are in doubts its veracity. 


Other Fact-checks 

Strengthening Investigative Journalism for the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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