OrderPaperToday– Dubawa, a fact checking platform, has said it will commence engagements with relevant stakeholders on freedom of expression, civic engagement and fact-checking.
In a statement released on Monday, Ms Ebele Oputa, Programme Officer/Editor of Dubawa, stressed the importance of empowering citizens with the tools to verify information before dissemination.
She said, “We can talk for hours about the role of tech companies, the government, the media and every other stakeholder in the information industry in fighting misinformation, but an often ignored but essential ingredient is education.
“By giving people the knowledge and ability to spot potential fake news, you are creating an army of voters who are critical of news they consume from covert and overt sources; people with greater access to information that causes them to challenge leadership; and that’s the kind of people we need in Africa!”
Giving details on the proposed interaction with stakeholders, the statement said, “Today marks the start of week-long activities to expand fact-checking and push the gospel of truth to all corners of Nigeria, to bring Nigerians together and offer them information as tools to hold the powerful in the society and by extension themselves accountable.
“Throughout the week, DUBAWA will be hosting a couple of events across Nigeria to engage young students, professionals, entrepreneurs, online content creators, people on-the-street and ordinary Nigerians in honest, constructive discussions and hands-on activities exploring the intersections between freedom of expression, civic engagement and fact-checking.”
Stressing the hazard of fake news, the statement recalled that two people died and at least twenty were hospitalised in 2014 following a social media prank asking Nigerians to drink excessive amount of salt water to avoid being infected with the Ebola virus.
She also highlighted an incident that occurred in 2019, where Muhammadu Buhari had to deny reports suggesting he is a clone.
The statement also touched on the recent introduction of the Social Media Bill which has been read for the second time at the Senate, noting the importance of knowledge and modern day information dynamics.