In the build-up to the forthcoming general elections, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has trained media professionals, Civil Society Organizations, and stakeholders in the electoral process; officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, on countering fake news, misinformation, and disinformation.
The two-day training which held in Lagos and supported by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) sensitized participants on the deluge of fake news and how they can be better positioned not to spread fake information and also to fact check false claims.
While facilitating the training session, Abiodun Banjoko, the Project Officer, Disinformation and Elections at CDD shared that the training was organized with the aim of combatting fake news and misinformation which would be on the increase during the elections.
Banjoko explained that engaging the different stakeholders at the training was essential to build synergy, and create a team of experts that are equipped to counter any form of misinformation during the election.
“Fake news has impacted various elections in the past and we have decided to engage different stakeholders that are involved in the electoral process to help us fact check and also verify claims.
“The purpose basically is to ensure that we have a group of fact checkers from different sectors and different parts of the country to work together, before, during and after elections,” Banjoko added.
He also noted that fake news can ruin a stable democracy, and that is the reason the CDD has been keen on countering fake news and disinformation.
Also, Armsfree Ajanaku, Communications Lead, CDD, shared that the organization has set up a ‘war room’ to combat any form of misinformation around the elections.
Ajanaku said “we already have fake news about the candidates and there would be more. There would be an upsurge in misinformation as the election approaches, such as videos of violence, false statements, and several others. As such, the CDD war room is set up counter disinformation, and ensure Nigerians have the right information at their disposal.”
Darmian Ihekonronye, the Grant and Partnership Manager at NED encouraged participants at the training to play effective roles in countering disinformation in their various capacities.
The two-day capacity-building workshop exposed participants to different fact-checking tools.