By Bukola Kuteyi 

In response to the misinformation surrounding the 2023 Presidential Election in Nigeria, Dubawa, an independent verification, and fact-checking platform in West Africa, recently conducted a training session for journalists in Ondo State.

The training, held on March 25 and 26 in Akure, aimed to equip journalists with fact-checking techniques and utilize various Google tools for information verification, ultimately enhancing their reporting skills.

The two-day training, organized in collaboration with the Google News Initiative, holds significant importance given the approaching governorship election in the coastal state.

While speaking, the Director of Programme at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, Dr. Babatunde Akintunde emphasized, “It’s just the need for us to grow the army of fact-checkers. And we thought it would be nice to have this training as we prepare for the Ondo State governorship election.

During the general election, we noticed a huge volume of disinformation, and we also suspect that that’s going to be the same as we look up towards the election in Ondo State.”

“One other thing that birthed this initiative is also the need to grow foot soldiers of fact-checkers within our space. Normally, we do this training in the cities—the big cities like Lagos, Abuja, and others—and we thought it was also wise to extend this training to community journalists who are closer to the populace than some of the mega-national media platforms.”

“And also, we realized that one thing we needed to do is to target engagements because every time we say fact-checking training, we notice that the concentration has likely been on big platforms, and community platforms are most times left out. So that’s why we also said ‘let’s bring this home to community platforms and also encourage them through capacity building.’”

Also, Mr. Eno Mboho, the Deputy Director of the Accountability Programme at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, underscored the prevalence of misinformation during past elections and the anticipated challenges in the upcoming Ondo State election. He stressed the importance of combating misinformation through comprehensive training.

Silas Jonathan, one of the speakers, led a session on video verification, where he introduced and taught the usage of various tools to verify videos, helping participants recognize alterations or doctoring.

Moreover, Temilade Onipede conducted a session on Fact-Checking Methodology, covering the definition of fact-checking, distinguishing it from news reporting, and outlining methods for effective fact-checking.

Journalists are encouraged to implement the skills they have acquired, aiming to elevate their operational standards with the knowledge gained from the training. It is vital for them to consistently practice and apply what they have learned.

The training accommodated approximately 40 participants, primarily from various platforms operating within Ondo State, with a few attendees from neighboring Ekiti and Osun States.

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