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The Ever-evolving Nature of Fact-checking

5 mins read

By Silas Jonathan

The Oxford Dictionary describes fact-checking as a process simply seeking to “investigate (an issue) in order to verify the facts.” However, while illuminating, this concise meaning is restricted in its awareness of the pragmatic outworkings of what constitutes fact-checking. This is important especially when we put into consideration the divergence, and scope of the practice of fact-checking, as well as the contexts–social, political, and cultural–in which fact-checking has become a predominant practice.

In Nigeria, fact-checking continues to diversify its cogency; developing new structures of knowledge that are not only rigid to print media but also open to how Broadcast Journalists can fact check the continually evasive misinformation in the multimedia space. But not just that, multiple explainers are also shared to assist individuals to navigate their way amidst the flood of information, even on matters that may appear common but complex, like accepting internet cookies, given that not all cookies are meant to be consumed.

Ironically,  as the knowledge of fact-checking continues to broaden, so seems to be the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Even so, a  scourge of fake information on sensitive matters that appear to care less about the effects or  consequences are on the rise; just as an upsurge of faith-based claims that are outside the orbit of ascertainable truth, most of which we eventually tend to verify to be false.

Some of such sensitive claims Dubawa uncovered to be untrue, possess the capacity to trigger crises and even magnanimous uproar in the society. The false claim that alleged Muslims to have burnt an  Igbo boy alive for urinating close to Mosque can easily provoke tension, so also the untrue claim about NBS records on mosques without bank accounts, and even the treacherous claim on southern Kaduna tension that shared inexact photos.

The transition from COVID-19 related claims to these sensitive, ticking time bomb and tumultuous claims, suggests the ever-evolving nature of Fact-checking as not just a process of seeking to “investigate (an issue) in order to verify the facts” but also a precaution to societal issues, prevention for catastrophes and also an explainer of matters that relates to the common man.   For if ideas rule the world as it’s been said,  fact-checking becomes even more crucial in understanding, exploring, and evaluating these ideas,  which Dubawa remains committed to, especially in Nigeria and soon Africa at large. 

Fact checks of the week

No NBS records show 96% of mosques without bank accounts

A viral message on Facebook claims that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data show that 96% of mosques in Nigeria do not operate bank accounts. Further, the message claims…

Why did Samsung and MTN beat a hurried retreat after garnering kudos on social media for COVID public service?

A message circulating on WhatsApp since 17th of August claimed that two telecommunications companies, MTN and Samsung, have donated smartphones and free…

FALSE: Americans not warned to shun Sierra Leone in their travel plans

On the 10th of August 2020, the Awareness Times Newspaper in one of its news items claimed that the US State Department has published a statement warning its citizens to avoid visiting Sierra Leone because of the…


QandA

What is the Update on Vaccine?

As of September 6th, the John Hopkins coronavirus map shows 879,580 global deaths from the recorded 26,882,530 confirmed cases. As the global coronavirus count becomes intensive, so is the effort to produce a vaccine. 

According to The Conversation, there are 32 vaccines in human trial around the world. Vaccines from 3 Chinese companies (Sinovac, CanSino and Sinopharm) are all in stage 3 clinical trials. Additionally, The New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine tracker says at least 91 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals. 

Recall that the Russian government has been criticized for not publishing the results for the phase 1 and 2 and also for announcing a cure that hasn’t gone through stage three. The new developments revealed by the coronavirus tracker are:

  • The Russian government has come back to say the widely acclaimed approval for the vaccine was just a  “conditional registration certificate,” which would depend on positive results from Phase 3 trials. 
  • The trials, initially planned for just 2,000 volunteers, were expanded to 40,000.
  • Gamaleya researchers have published the results of their Phase 1/2 trial. 
  • In a small study, they found that Sputnik yielded antibodies to the coronavirus and mild side effects.

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.

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? Be sure to verify the content of this report before sharing.


Other Fact-checks 

“Fake News”: Understanding the Scourge in Nigeria

Strengthening Investigative Journalism for the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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