A GROUP of high-profile digital influencers will collaborate with newsrooms and fact-checking organizations in Nigeria to combat misinformation around Covid-19 and other critical issues, it was announced today.
The initiative, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and led by ICFJ Knight Fellow Hannah Ajakaiye, is designed to amplify the reach of credible information by sharing fact-checks published by media partners on their social media platforms. It will also help to crowdsource online misinformation being debunked by participating fact-checkers.
The fact-checking organisations and media outfits partnering with ICFJ on the project include the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Africa Check, The Cable Newspapers, Dubawa (Premium Times Investigative Journalism Centre (PTIJC).
Ajakaiye said the programme was conceived to mitigate the virus of misinformation through multi-levelled approaches and methods.
“Recent research shows that African audiences have low levels of trust in the media and are exposed to a high degree of misinformation and – often knowingly – contribute to its spread,” she said.
“With social media multiplying the risks of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda and hoaxes; we believe our collaboration with these leading influencers is a timely intervention that can help restore the diminishing level of trust in Nigeria’s local media whilst also reducing exposure to misinformation,” she added.
Jerri Eddings, director of the ICFJ Knight Fellowship Programme, said the project is an opportunity for digital influencers to become verifiable sources of credible information to their online followers. She said it would also empower citizens by providing them with accurate information to enable them to make informed decisions.
“ICFJ has worked for 35 years to empower journalists and media organizations to produce high-quality content that has positive impacts on their communities. We’re excited about this new project to work with journalists and social media influencers in Nigeria to combat misinformation, especially during this time when we are facing such a deadly global health challenge in Covid-19,” Eddings added.
Leading digital influencers collaborating on the project include social justice advocate, Mr Segun Awosanya (segalink); frontline investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo; human right activist, Barr. Abdul Mahmud; globally recognised grassroots campaigner, Hamzat Lawal; and popular health influencer, Dr Fidelis Egemba (Aproko doctor).
Designed to instill a culture of news innovation and experimentation worldwide, the ICFJ Knight Fellowships empower media innovators to seed new ideas and expand news coverage with the ultimate goal of improving people’s lives.