Ahead of the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, the International Press Centre (IPC) has begun training of about 80 journalists from the print, electronic and online media on fact-checking to aid the credibility of electoral information and proper reportage of the electoral processes.
The fact-checking workshop which kick-started the iVerify project of the IPC, Lagos-Nigeria, is supported by the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP).
27 male and female journalists from Kogi State participated in the first leg of the training in Abuja, FCT, on October 27 and 28, while another set of 27 from Bayelsa State are currently attending the workshop in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 27 journalists from Imo State are scheduled to be trained later in the week.
Speaking during the commencement of the training for the Bayelsa State participants yesterday, Mr Matthew Alao, Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security of UNDP Nigeria, said electoral disinformation and fake news in general are major threats to the ability of citizens to have the right information during electoral processes and thereby also constituting threats to democracy.
Also speaking, IPC’s programme manager, Mrs Stella Nwofia, said the iVerify project is enabling IPC to continue with its mission of promoting good journalism through best practices in ensuring factual accuracy of news.
She said the objective of the training is to equip the journalists with the requisite skills and knowledge to enhance the integrity of information on the electoral processes in the respective states, especially the campaigns, the conduct of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and post-election democratic accountability and governance issues.
She added that the workshops are also building the skill of the journalists on how to use fact-checking tools for the purpose of combating the menace of false information during the electioneering period while also introducing them to the workings of the iVerify system and their likely role.