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NIGERIA COAT OF ARM

CDD trains journalists, stakeholders on factChecking news, disinformation

By Remi Koleoso
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Friday, urged media practitioners and relevant stakeholders in electoral processes to jointly wage war against fake news and mis/disinformation in the country.

A Senior Programme Officer at CDD, Mr Austin Aigbe, made the call in Ado-Ekiti at a three-day fact-checking training with the theme: ‘Countering mis/disinformation in Nigerian elections.’

Aigbe urged participants to always do thorough background checks before breaking any news item to the general public, stressing the need to ensure ‘factChecking’.

He described factChecking as “the act of checking the factual assertion in the news function and information, including videos and pictures.”

Aigbe also described disinformation as an act of deliberately misleading or distributing biased information to manipulate narrative or fact (propaganda) to deceive the general public.

“Information that sounds too outrageous probably is not true or should be treated with suspicion. Not all hate speeches sound like hate speech especially in politics,” he said.

Aigbe urged those on social media to avoid rushing to share, re-tweet, and forwarding links to the public without reading the comment with a thorough background check.

Also speaking, Mr Abiodun Banjoko, a Programme Officer with CDD, said the role of stakeholders from Ekiti State could not be underestimated, stressing that fake and disinformation news, pictures or videos posed threat to global democracy.

Banjoko stressed the need for every stakeholder to ensure access to accurate information in promoting electoral activities.

“Spreading factual news will ensure that Ekiti State, as a Fountain of Knowledge and Land of Honour, has a non-violent electoral process which ensure credible, free and fair election,”he said.

On her part, the state Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Omowumi Famuyiwa, called for balanced reportage in the build up to electioneering process for Ekiti and Osun elections.

Famuyiwa, represented by Mrs Toyosi Eleyinmi, a Chief Programme Officer, expressed confidence in the ability of the media to shape the society and able to sustain the existing peace in the two states.

Also, the Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Femi Akinbiyi, affirmed that fake news had become a monster destroying the system and heating up the polity, hence must be nailed in the bud.

He said that the training was coming at the most appropriate time, but suggested that such training should not be a one off thing.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ekiti Council, Mr Rotimi Ojomoyela, commended the organisers of the programme, saying the workshop had broadened the knowledge of participants on how to tackle fake news.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by CDD in collaboration with NDI, USAID and UKaid and attended by security agencies, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) National Council for Women Societies, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), among other stakeholders. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)