The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria supported by the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) has held fact-checking workshops for journalists from Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States ahead of the off-cycle governorship elections in the three States on November 11, 2023.
The workshops are part of the activities under the iVerify Fact-checking project whose objective is to strengthen national capacities to prevent and mitigate the threats of disinformation, misinformation, misinformation and hate speech to the integrity of electoral information and democracy.
The workshop attracted eighty (80) female and male journalists from the broadcast, print and online media in the three States who have been reporting on the electoral processes and will be on election duty on November 11.
The training for Kogi journalists was held at Hawthorn Suites & Hotels, Abuja, FCT on October 27 & 28, while journalists from Bayelsa and Imo states respectively had their training on October 30 & 31 and November 2 & 3 at Echelon Heights Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The workshops were facilitated by expert resource persons who made presentations as follows: ‘The Art of Questioning in Journalism & Being Detectives of Misinformation’ by Mr. Taiwo Obe, founder of Journalism Clinic; Fact-checking of Electoral Information to Promote Electoral Integrity, by Mr. David Ajikobi, Nigerian Editor of Africa Check; Combating Electoral Information Disorder or Fake News – the INEC Experience by Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman and The Dangers of Information Disorder or Fake News to Peace Building & Conflict Resolution by Dr. Emmanuel Mamman, Director of Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Mr. Matthew Alao, Team Lead, Governance, Peace & Security of UNDP Nigeria, the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade and the iVerify Project Officer for IPC, Mrs. Stella Nwofia also addressed the participants and highlighted the imperative of sanitising the information space in the countdown to the elections and the aftermath.
Arising from the presentations, the remarks, the group exercises and the plenary discussions, participants at the three workshops resolved to:
- Accept the obligation of setting a public-interest agenda for the governorship elections in the three states;
- Make it a professional and ethical duty to enhance the integrity of electoral information by not only avoiding but also countering disinformation, misinformation and hate speech;
- Embrace and regularly make use of the fact-checking methods and digital tools to which they were exposed;
- Imbibe the art of questioning as a valuable skill necessary for being detectives of disinformation and misinformation;
- Ensure factual accuracy of electoral reports, particularly by setting aside personal biases and avoid presenting opinions as facts;
- Uphold accountability journalism at elections by making key electoral stakeholders such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the political parties, the candidates and the law enforcement and security agencies accountable to the public;
- Take all professional steps to deescalate conflict and assist with conflict management since violent conflicts are threats to elections and democracy;
- Utilize and sensitise citizens on IPC’s iVerify platform being a useful technology-driven system to combat electoral information disorder;
- Share the knowledge and skills gained from the workshop with other colleagues so that collectively they can provide reliable electoral information for the citizens; and
- Popularise HASHTAG #VerifyBeforeYouShare to enlighten citizens on how to avert misinformation.
International Press Centre (IPC)
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