In an effort to foster higher standards of journalism in West Africa, the Google News Initiative (GNI) and DUBAWA, the respected verification and fact-checking arm of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), have come together. The partnership will focus on an extensive training program specially designed for journalists in non-urban communities of Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia. This collaboration aims to harness the longstanding efforts of DUBAWA in promoting a culture of truth in journalism and complement it with the digital expertise that GNI brings to the table.
Aiming to engage a minimum of 280 journalists across the three countries, the initiative will provide in-depth training in digital verification and familiarise them with specialised Google tools and resources. Participants will also benefit from two interactive, non-residential workshops in selected regions, supplemented by in-newsroom training sessions.
Highlighting the significance and scope of this program, Caroline Anipah, the Deputy Director in charge of Verification and Media Literacy Practice, shared, “Often, such training programmes are designed for journalists in city centres, neglecting those in non-urban communities. However, this partnership is different. At DUBAWA, we believe every journalist, especially those confronted with challenges of misinformation, should be equipped with the necessary skills to counter fake news effectively and, above all, to foster a well-informed citizenry. This is the essence of this project,” she expressed.
Vincent Ryan, EMEA Partnerships Manager at Google, remarked, “In an era where information is both a tool and a weapon, news verification and fact-checking have never been more paramount. Through our collaboration with DUBAWA, the Google News Initiative is deeply committed to fortifying the journalistic community in West Africa with robust verification tools and strategies. Together, we are laying the bedrock for a future where every news piece is accurate and trustworthy.”
Akintunde Babatunde, Director of Programmes at CJID, extended his appreciation to the team at Google for the collaboration with DUBAWA. He said, “This new partnership has validated the terrific work happening at CJID/DUBAWA over the years. Our mandate has always been to positively disrupt the media ecosystem in West Africa to ensure a vibrant and independent media society. With this support, which will further extend the frontiers of our capacity-building initiatives, we are excited about an opportunity to support journalists and fact-checkers in these countries.”
In a world where over 70% of internet users across nations have inadvertently been exposed to misinformation, the significance of initiatives such as this becomes magnified. For countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and The Gambia, the foundation of reliable journalism serves not merely as a source of credible information but as a bastion of democracy, reinforcing the integrity of news and upholding the principles upon which informed societies stand.
DUBAWA is a transnational fact-checking and verification platform initiated by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) to address information disorder, principally misinformation and disinformation, through multi-pronged expert-identified approaches. Launched in 2018 by the Centre and operating in the five anglophone West African countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and The Gambia), DUBAWA aims to advance truth and accuracy in reporting to help instil a culture of verification among journalists, elected and public officials, and citizens; and to promote technology use in journalism.
About the Google News Initiative:
The Google News Initiative represents Google’s comprehensive effort to consolidate its products, partnerships, and programs, all aimed at ensuring the flourishing of journalism in the digital age. The initiative concentrates on three pivotal objectives: raising the standard of information while combating misinformation, innovating business models that extend beyond advertising to support quality journalism, and enabling news organisations to effectively harness new technologies, including AI, to meet their evolving needs.