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The Fact-Checker: June 29, 2020

3 mins read

Is the global fighting approach to misinformation, one-size-fits-all or more nuanced in its application?

The more researchers carefully examine evolving societies, one truth becomes apparent-  development is not absolute. In truth, this development could take the form of implantation of a subtle idea through effective communication; or the creation of an artificial intelligence tool that automates the process for receiving the right answers to life’s most important questions.

Recent global trends in the realm of coronavirus-related misinformation show that false news travels swiftly between countries and is often promoted by both the elites and commoners. The just-concluded Global Facts 7 and CoronavirusAlliance further consolidated our earlier observations about the common themes around misinformation – from fake cures like garlic, lemon and ginger to conspiracy theories and financial scams. And so because of these common themes, a global approach should be encouraged. 

A starting point would be to foster strategic partnerships between and across technology platforms, fact-checking organisations, thematic areas and regions. And while such coalitions already exist, it seems that all parties are not convinced that we are fighting a common enemy; a foe, whose defeat will require openness which will, in turn, translate to individual success (whatever that looks like) for each party. 

But that will still be insufficient. Nigeria and the African continent is unique as other parts of the world. Truth and falsehood, fact-checks and fabricated contents, two ends of the same coin, both have to do with the use and misuse of communication; while communication itself is rooted in culture. The design of fact-checking standards, structures and rating systems cannot be invented arbitrarily or copied fanatically from Western or Eastern lexicon.

Ordinarily, fact-checkers point out a hoax; researchers try to understand how it was born. At the end of the line, social media platforms take action. But this doesn’t always happen. More importantly, a critical stakeholder in this process is totally ignored – the people. Over the next couple of weeks and months, Dubawa will be rethinking and refashioning its operations to be more audience-centric, because we are not working for ourselves!

Coronavirus Q & A 

Is there an approved vaccine for COVID-19 yet?

Available information from the World Health Organization is that there is still no vaccine or any established cure for COVID-19. However, the body has indicated that efforts are being made. It stated that research is in progress to make vaccines available and has promised to provide updated information as soon as results become available.

Is drinking warm water effective against Coronavirus?

Initially, it was drinking a lot of water that magically protects against the virus, but now, the rumour has shifted to ‘drinking warm water.’ BCC had debunked the misconception that drinking a lot of water washes down the virus and eventually gets rid of it.  

Similarly, the British Broadcasting Corporation has also discredited the narrative that hot drinks would get rid of the virus. So, how much can warm water do against COVID-19, if hot drinks are generally less effective against it?

Snopes dotted the I’s and crossed all T’s after rating the claim about lime and hot water false!

How effective is bathing with hot water against COVID-19?

The World Health Organization has explicitly stated that ‘Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your average body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Taking a hot tub with boiling water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this, you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.’

Tip of the week!

#FakeNews Alert 

COVID-19: Peter of Psquare, wife, daughter test positive – SOURCE: ONLINE BLOG (FirstWeeklyMagazine)

Dubawa has carried out checks on similar claims (see here, here) and they turned out false. Always keep an open mind when going through news reports about who has or has not tested positive for COVID-19, especially one from an unreliable source. 

Kwara: Abdulrazaq Maintains N100m Monthly Release For Gratuity – SOURCE: ONLINE BLOG (FactualaTimesNG)

Be careful not to fall for fake news or propaganda. Just before you share or react, ask yourself, who is the source? How did he get the information? What is he/she likely to gain? Which credible platform has published it?

Ekiti Raises Alarm Over Possible Community Spread Of COVID-19 – SOURCE: ONLINE BLOG (The DrumOnline)

Check for the source of this message, Is he credible? Who is his/her source? Has any trustworthy platform published this information? What are health authorities saying?

Ebele Oputa is a frontline leader who helps organizations do new things or do existing things more efficiently. She has provided strategic, technical and programmatic oversight as well as editorial support of Dubawa since its inception. She is an experienced Programme Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. Skilled in Negotiation, Training, Leadership, Project Management, and Strategic Communications, Ebele has a Master of Laws (LLM) focused on International Trade and Commercial Law from Durham University.

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