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Victims, fact-checkers share experiences as Dubawa marks International Fact-Checking Day

by Lois Ugbede

In commemoration of the International Fact-checking Day, Dubawa, an independent fact-checking platform, hosted a webinar on the experiences of misinformation victims and fact-checkers.

April 2 is International Fact-Checking Day, a day set aside by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and its members around the world to celebrate and recognise the contributions of fact-checkers in sanitising the information ecosystem. This is held annually since its inception in 2017.

The webinar organised by Dubawa’s three West African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone) held on zoom and was streamed live on Dubawa’s Facebook page on Thursday, April 1.

PTCIJ’s Programme Director, Oluwatosin Alagbe, in her opening remark, noted that misinformation is not new but the advent of technology has made it easier for it to spread, hence the need for all hands to be on deck in the fight against it.

“Misinformation undermines democracy and causes unrest. PTCIJ saw this problem and decided to fill the gap through its fact-checking platform, Dubawa” she said.

The first session featured victims of misinformation who shared their experiences.

George Andah, a former Deputy Minister of Communication and Member of Parliament of Awutu Senya West Constituency in the Central Region of Ghana was accused of wielding a gun at an election registration centre in Ghana while Segun Olugola whose ailing daughter’s picture was used to defraud many.

Both experiences brought to light the immeasurable effect of misinformation on the public and the need to seek correction/redress where and when misinformation is spread about a person or an organisation.

The second session of the webinar brought together a panelist of fact-checkers: Oluwasegun Olakoyenikan from AFP Nigeria, Roselena Ahiable from Dubawa Ghana, Silas Jonathan from Dubawa Nigeria, Alie Tarawally from Dubawa Sierra Leone, and Sani Abdul Rahman from GhanaFact.

These fact-checkers spoke on the misinformation trend in their different countries, how they work to tackle it, the challenges they face and how they overcome these challenges.

Some of the challenges identified by these fact-checkers include information sourcing, audience reaction to fact-checks and access to data.

The webinar was brought to a close by the chief executive officer of PTCIJ, Dapo Olorunyomi, who noted that the experiences shared is a clear representation of the effect of misinformation on the public and the importance of the work fact-checkers do.

“The work you do brings a lot of consequence and value,” he said.

Dubawa is the independent Fact-Checking Project of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism(PTCIJ)

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Tip Of The Week

#FakeNewsAlert

There’s precious little that we can do about the barrage of misinformation that we see daily, but there’s a lot we can do together if we learn to identify suspicious claims in the news and refrain from fuelling the fire by spreading them! Here are our top picks of likely-to-be-false news which [sadly] couldn’t be fact-checked.

  • Pain killers should not be taken after covid vaccination SOURCE: Viral WhatsApp Image

A WhatsApp Message claims that a young doctor, Hariharini, had passed away after developing severe anaphylaxis (A severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) to an injection given to her by her husband who is also a doctor. According to the post, Hariharini had earlier taken a COVID-19 vaccine and Diclofenac ( a pain reliever) was administered to her for myalgia (pain in a muscle or group of muscles.) which allegedly developed after she took the vaccine.

Beware! There is a flood of false information circulating in the media about the COVID-19 vaccine; its potency and effects on people. While the veracity of this post is yet to be known, there’s a tendency for this post to be one of the many fake theories around the vaccines. Hence, it is important that this post as well as many others of its nature be thoroughly investigated before passing on to others.

Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? How credible is he/she? Which credible platform has published this story? Which vaccine is the story referring to? Is myalgia one of the side effects of any of the available vaccines? What have health authorities said about COVID-19 vaccines and pain relievers? Is there another story around the attached picture?

GIVE ME NIGERIA AND GHANA TO RECOLONIZE AND IN ONE YEAR THEY BECOME FIRST CLASS COUNTRIES – KIM JONG UN -SOURCE: WhatsApp Message

In a viral WhatsApp message, North Korean President, Kim Jong Un allegedly said he would make Nigeria and Ghana ‘First-class countries’ if given the opportunity to recolonize the two nations. 

Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? How credible is he/she? Which credible platform has published this story? 

What you should do: Verify the story and do not share this post any further without proper verification.

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