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PRESS  RELEASE REGARDING BASELESS ALLEGATIONS MADE BY DR BLYDEN ON DUBAWA

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We wish to address a Facebook video featuring Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, wherein she disparages the work of DUBAWA and presents unfounded claims about our fact-checking platform. We categorically refute these allegations as mere fabrications and regrettable misrepresentations.  

To set the records straight, DUBAWA is not just a media monitoring system but a verification and fact-checking initiative of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, which operates in all English-speaking West African countries, including Sierra Leone.

While we respect Dr Blyden’s right to free speech, the substance of her remarks—comprising fabrications, disinformation, and a fundamental misunderstanding of DUBAWA’s mission—misunderstands the growing relevance of fact-checking organisations. Our role is to foster a culture of truth by thoroughly investigating social and traditional media comments or claims that may misinform or disinform. We publish our findings transparently on Dubawa.org and our social media platforms.

DUBAWA, Facebook partnership

Contrary to Dr Blyden’s assertions, our partnership with Meta, the umbrella body for Facebook, aims to counter disinformation on the social networking platform. We flag potentially false or misleading comments, irrespective of individuals’ political or social affiliations. We do not confer credibility on people who do not have it, nor do we take credibility from those who do. We adhere strictly to global fact-checking standards in line with the principles of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). This is the global fact-checking standard that other fact-checking organisations employ worldwide.

Fact-checking Process

As a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and given the transparent nature of our work, we cannot cherry-pick by making people look good or bad. We look out for viral comments that are potentially false or misleading and then proceed to investigate them. We use open-source investigative tools and speak directly to those who made those claims as part of the basic tenets of ethical journalism. When they respond, we incorporate their responses into our final report. We still publish our final report with a “true, false, or misleading” verdict if they don’t. Our process is open and transparent enough for all well-meaning individuals and organisations to understand and appreciate. When we give our verdict and rate the same on Facebook, Meta only alerts readers or viewers that independent fact-checkers have investigated the content they are about to see with a corresponding verdict. This is just to caution readers and viewers about how they can treat a particular post on Facebook. Anyone who claims to be interested in the peace, progress, and development of Sierra Leone cannot be at war with DUBAWA over a process to sanitise the media space. Again, our website will bear testimony to the non-partisan nature of our work with evidence of verified claims from all corners of the social and political divide in Sierra Leone.

DUBAWA’s Partners

While DUBAWA’s primary focus is on fact-checking and verification, the platform is also actively involved in various other areas such as research, capacity building for media personnel and parastatals, promoting general media and information literacy, and developing technology tools. In the previous year’s Sierra Leone elections, DUBAWA collaborated with and provided training to several government institutions, including the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL), the National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED), and various civil society organisations, including the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP). These training initiatives aim to empower citizens with knowledge about the activities and impact of purveyors of disinformation.

DUBAWA conducted live fact-checking during the Sierra Leone elections to mitigate the influence of election-related disinformation. Similar efforts were undertaken during elections in Nigeria, Liberia, and The Gambia, and the same commitment will be upheld in Ghana in 2024. Despite collaborating with credible nations and institutions, DUBAWA remains resolute in not accommodating individuals involved in disseminating false information.

We hope Dr Blyden’s comments were made without malice, and we invite her to understand our work better. Collaboration can enhance our shared goal of promoting truth in West African democracies. While we value partnerships, we won’t hesitate to take legal steps to protect our reputation if necessary.

Signed

Management

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3 Comments

  1. Why are you giving airtime to someone who clearly has mental issues? Is it not better to stay professional and ignore these baits for argument?

    1. Listen to this idiot referring to Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden as having mental issues. The length of the Dubawa response shows a clearly panicked reaction. It means Dr. Blyden has hit something on bull’s eye. Dubawa is now trying to be a Judge and Prosecutor in their own case. Shameful. God bless you Dr. Blyden.

  2. Den explain Taya!! The credibility of Dr Blyden will never be dent by a gang calling themselves “fact checkers”. You should focus on the past elections of Nigeria, not Sierra Leone!!

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