By Dauda Musbau
FactCheck Africa, a journalism project of the Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI), has commenced a-month long Fact-Checking Training and Digital Rights Youth Conference across some selected universities in Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, starting with the North Central Region at the Kwara State University, Malete (KWASU).
The conference which was held at the University’s ICT Auditorium on Wednesday, February 7th, 2024 had some dignitaries and academic scholars in attendance. Some of those in attendance were Dr. Isiaka Zubair Aliagan, Acting Dean, Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, KWASU; Dr. Lambe Kayode Mustapha, Associate professor, Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin.
Also, in attendance were the panelists. From Dr. (Mrs) Monsurat Wonuola, Department of Mass Communication, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin; to Dr. Patrick Udende, Department of Mass Communication University of Ilorin and Radio Nigeria.
FactCheckAfrica is a platform created by BBYDI, the training funded by the United States Embassy and supported by Becera to tackle false information around issues in Government, Elections, Climate, Conflicts and more, through timely, rigorous and accurate fact-checking.
While presenting his speech, Dr. Lambe Kayode Mustapha, Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin explained the crucial role of ensuring information integrity in the dissemination process through the theme, ‘Containing and Controlling Information Pollution: Who Has the Solutions – Platforms or Government?
Dr. Mustapha highlighted the bad effect of sensationalism, he said, “Yellow journalism fueled by sensationalism should be discouraged, as falsehood tends to spread faster than the truth.”
In his welcome remark, Olasupo Abideen, the Global Director of Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, emphasized the need to tackle information disorder.
“The event is tailored to address the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria, starting with the North Central region. There’s a pressing need to tackle disinformation as the distinction between facts and fiction becomes increasingly blurred. Today, we equip future leaders with the tools to prioritize facts over fiction,” Abideen emphasized.
Daranijo Habeeb, a lecturer in the department of Mass Communication expressed gratitude to the organization for taking the right step in keeping people informed about the danger of fake news.
“The conference is a right step at the right time considering how polluted the media ecosystem is right now, it’s just like an eye opener for the participants and a motivation to engage in a war against information disorder,” Habeeb said.
Furthermore, Habeeb said he achieved a lot by learning from the best in the field and academics regarding information pollution, ways to combat it and digital rights nitty-gritty.
Another participant, Maryam Ajadi noted, “I did not regret that I attended this conference because the program was fascinating and an educational experience.”