Wednesday, 17 April

Election 2024: Media Foundation for West Africa holds 2-day fact-checking 'intervention' for media

General News
A still from Media Foundation for West Africa's 2024 two-day training on combating mis/disinformation

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has concluded a two-day workshop for journalists.

At Sunlodge Hotel, Tesano, Accra, Thursday and Friday, 22 & 23 February 2024, journalists of various media: radio, TV, print, online, social media, etc, were educated on information disorder and fact-checking.

Class News’ Prince Benjamin (PB) spoke, in an exclusive interview, with MFWA’s Adizatu Moro Maiga, Programmes Officer with the Media, Good Governance and Democracy Programme.

She explained her purview as “building capacities, and improving media professionalism, and development”.

“As part of our mandate, we do a lot of training and capacity-building.”

Preferring to call the two-day training, an “intervention,” she argued it was crucial because “we are in an election year”.

She expatiated: “And during election years, there is a lot of mis/disinformation that is spewed out – social media is not a place to smile during elections because it becomes a platform where people just banter. Social media armies recruited tend to churn out information, whether true or false, so the whole place becomes murky, and then the ordinary citizen now becomes the bearer of these false information, which, a lot of the time, tends to cause harm to the people.

“So during elections for instance, we build a lot of capacity and raise awareness around this issue of mis/disinformation or what people popularly call fake news, so people are aware and conscious about these issues and look out for the right, factual, credible information.”

Ms Maiga underlined the role of journalists in effectively and efficiently combating mis/disinformation.

“We use the media as a platform to [broadcast] this knowledge. When we build the capacities of journalists, we expect that they take the knowledge to do reports that are credible, and also use the knowledge to educate their audience, so that in the long run, everybody benefits,” she said.

She noted the workshop was “a scale-up” on 2023’s, during which “we trained about 100 journalists”.

Ms Maiga expressed deep appreciation for support from “the FCDO, the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office of the United Kingdom”.

Optimistic, she observed the MFWA efforts are “helping to sanitise” the information space, “as more and more people are becoming more conscious about the things [information] they receive and put out there”.

| Kwaku Krobea Asante

The training was done by Stephen Tindi, Lecturer, University of Media, Arts & Communication-Institute of Journalism (UniMAC-IJ), Kwaku Krobea Asante, Fact-check Lead, MFWA, and Matthew Otubu, UK Government Communication Service International.

Ghana goes to the polls on Saturday, December 7, 2024, to elect a new president, the favourites being Vice President and flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and former President and flagbearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Dramani Mahama.

Source: Benjamin