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Spain trains Nigerian fact-checkers and journalists  in AI applications, digital cybersecurity and disinformation debunking


From July 10 to 14, Casa África, in collaboration with the DG Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, the Embassy of Spain in  Nigeria and the Centre for Journalism Innovation & Development (CJID) of  Nigeria, through its verification platform DUBAWA, has organised two training courses in information verification and digital cybersecurity for Nigerian journalists.  

The courses included the participation of two specialised trainers from the  Spanish media outlets and Newtral who shared their knowledge and experience with DUBAWA fact-checkers and other journalists interested in fact-checking.  

One of the courses was advanced and aimed exclusively at the DUBAWA fact-checkers, who learnt to apply Artificial Intelligence systems to their information verification processes. The trainers taught them to understand how new AI tools work and how to use them to detect and debunk misinformation.  

The other course is generic and was offered to journalists who want to start or improve their fact-checking skills. The course included classes on topics such as  ChatGPT, advanced internet search, disinformation techniques, image and video verification, digital cybersecurity for journalists and fact-checking ethics.  

This initiative is part of the #PeriodismoÁfrica program of Casa África, which seeks to bring Africa and Spain closer together through educational, economic, cultural and informative activities. For 15 years, Casa África has been fighting against stereotypes in the narratives about the African continent and supporting the role of journalism as a powerful tool in the fight against misinformation. 

The training in Abuja has been the third training experience of the  #PeriodismoÁfrica program, which aims to take advantage of the talent and high innovation existing in the field of verification and the fight against misinformation in Spain to improve the training of African journalists, who have a huge challenge in misinformation. The first two experiences were carried out in Kenya and  Namibia, with great success and satisfaction from the participants.  

Casa África plans to continue deepening this program as early as next September through the IV Meeting of Journalists Africa-Spain, which will take place in Madrid on September 26-27 and focus on misinformation and narratives about  Africa in Spain and Europe.  

José Segura Clavell, director general of Casa África, said: “We are very proud to collaborate with our Nigerian partners in this training program that aims to strengthen the capacities of African journalists in fact-checking and digital security. We believe these skills are essential for quality journalism that  can inform citizens and combat misinformation that can undermine democracy  and human rights.” 

Dr Tobi Oluwatola, the Executive Director at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, said: “AI and its new iteration of large language models have changed the world in ways we do not fully comprehend yet. Journalists must be able to explain and leverage them for democratic purposes such  as verification and digital literacy.”  

From his end, Ambassador Juan Sell, who attended the closing ceremony of the training to hand over to the participants their certificates, reminded “that Spain is holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU this Semester and that among our priorities, there is certainly the support of a free, independent, trustworthy and competent media, in Africa and elsewhere, as it is a prerequisite for a thriving and inclusive democracy. Casa Africa is hitting the bulls-eye by bringing the most specialised fact-checkers of Spain to train Nigerian journalists and partnering with DUBAWA, an already reputed platform in the field of nowadays essential fight against disinformation.”

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