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April 19, 2024

IPC Train Journalists on Fact checking Combatting information Disorder

By Abdullahi Alhassan, Kaduna

The international Press Centre Lagos Nigeria, with Support from European Union, have conducted a two-day capacity-building event focused on combating information disorder in democratic governance reporting using fact-checking and Freedom of Information (FOI) tools.

Addressing the participants the Programme Manager of the Centre Mrs Stella Onwofia said this workshop is a component of the collaborative efforts between IPC and the Centre for Media and Society (CEMESO) under Component 4 of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGNII) project.

She explained that the training program seeks to address a critical aspect highlighted in the EU-EOM final report on the 2023 general elections, which underlines those online social platforms played a significant role in both campaigning and public oversight of the electoral process.

“However, there were instances where these platforms were misused, either for campaigning lacking transparency or for creating misleading impressions of widespread support.

She further explained that “Despite repeated warnings from government officials about the dangers of misinformation, various entities, including individuals associated with major political parties, disseminated false information online.

Adding tha the report notes that major parties utilized paid advertising on online platforms, although the full extent of this practice remained obscured due to a lack of transparency within these platforms.

“The overarching theme of “Credible Elections & Democratic Governance” emphasizes the foundational principles that underpin our societies.

Mrs Stella maintained tha Central to democracy is the conduct of free and fair elections, empowering individuals to exercise their rights, hold leaders accountable, and shape their collective destiny.

She however said ,the rise of misinformation poses a significant threat to democratic governance, fostering scepticism, discord, and distrust.

“The training program, which commenced in Ondo State as the initial phase, followed by Port-Harcourt, is designed as a three-part series. Its primary goal is to provide journalists nationwide with essential tools, skills, and knowledge.

“The program aims to empower journalists to adeptly navigate the challenges of the digital era, all while maintaining standards of responsibility and ethical behaviour.

The Programme manager enumerated that “By promoting a culture of critical thinking, fact verification, and media literacy, our goal is to empower journalists to uphold truth, advocate for integrity, and safeguard democracy.

Following the conclusion of this intensive two-day capacity-building program, we anticipate the establishment of a network of journalists recognized as the distinguished IPC/EUSDGN fellows specializing in fact-checking, investigative reporting, and freedom of information journalism.

“Our expert speakers have been meticulously chosen, and the topics they will cover are thoughtfully designed to provoke a transformation within you during this training, enabling you to become agents for promoting good governance.

“The IPC extends its gratitude to our esteemed facilitators: Ms. Fatimah V. Shaibu, Department of Mass Communications, The Polytechnic Kaduna, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda, and Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of the International Press Centre.

“Their adept facilitation promises insightful discussions, enriching our deliberations with their diverse perspectives.

“We express heartfelt appreciation to all attendees for gracing us with your presence, trusting that your contributions will enhance the value of our time together.

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