About 80 journalists from the print, electronic and online media in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states have started receiving training on fact-checking to aid the credibility of electoral information as the States set to hold an off-cycle governorship election on November 11, 2023.
The fact-checking workshops kick-start the iVerify project of the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria supported by the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP).
27 male and female journalists from Kogi state participated in the first leg of the training in Abuja, FCT, on October 27 and 28, while another 27 from Bayelsa State are currently attending the workshop in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
27 journalists from Imo State will be trained later in the week.
The focus of the presentations at the workshops are: The Art of questioning in Journalism & Being Detectives of Misinformation by Mr. Taiwo Obe, founder Journalism Clinic; Fact-checking of 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.
Addressing the Kogi and Bayelsa participants, Mr. Matthew Alao, Team Lead, Governance, Peace & Security of UNDP Nigeria, said electoral disinformation and fake news in general are major threats to the ability of citizens to have the right information during electoral processes and elections, therefore also constituting threats to democracy.
IPC’s Programme Manager, Mrs. Stella Nwofia also said the iVerify project is enabling IPC to continue with its mission of promoting good journalism through best practices in ensuring factual accuracy of news.
According to her, the objective of the training is to equip the journalists with the requisite skills and knowledge to enhance the integrity of information on the electoral processes in the respective states, especially the campaigns, the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission, and post-election democratic accountability and governance issues.
The workshops are also building the skill of the journalists on how to use fact-checking tools for the purpose of combating the menace of false information during the electioneering period while also introducing them to the workings of the iVerify system and their likely role.
Media professional organisations collaborating with IPC on the iVerify project and who nominated some of the participants include the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), and the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
Highlights of the workshops can be followed on IPC’s social media channels with the HASHTAG #VerifyBeforeYouShare.