DUBAWA, an independent fact-checking project initiated last year by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), has kicked off a week-long nationwide exercise where it will be educating Nigerians on verification and freedom of expression.
In a press release shared with The ICIR on Monday, the group said the activities are aimed at pushing “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,” it said.
Media literacy outreaches across various schools were scheduled for Monday to teach students the importance of truth-telling while social media events will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, the group will hold a cocktail dinner to mark the end of its maiden fact-checking fellowship; and to round off the series of event, on Friday, it will have an on-the-street vox pop.
Ebele Oputa, Dubawa’s Programme Officer and Editor, said the campaign will give people the ability to spot possible misinformation and ultimately make them better voters and citizens.
“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,” Oputa said.
“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!”
Dubawa’s goal is to “to institute a culture of truth and verification in public discourse and journalism through strategic partnerships between the media, government, civil society organizations, technology giants and the public”.