By Bimbola Oyesola
The United States Government said it’s committed to supporting initiatives that promote and improve media literacy in Nigeria.
With support of the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and the Enugu Literacy Society (ELS) launched “Project Fact Check Nigeria,” a media literacy and countering misinformation project.
The project seeks to strengthen critical thinking skills, expand digital and media literacy, and build capacity of radio journalists to counter misinformation and disinformation across the 17 states of southern Nigeria.
According to the Embassy, through this project, more than 170 radio hosts, producers, and reporters will acquire fact-checking skills and explore best practices for spotting fake news, disinformation, and misinformation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop in Lagos, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, Stephen Ibelli explained that a healthy democracy requires both an informed public and an accountable media that provides truthful and objective information.
“By promoting media literacy, we strengthen the principles of transparency, good governance and rule of law that serve as the essential cornerstones of our democratic system,” Ibelli noted.
As part of the project, WABMA and ELS have entered into a partnership with the management of the 17 participating radio stations for the production and airing of media literacy and countering misinformation shows over the next 12 months.
The radio shows and content will highlight the importance of personal accountability in the dissemination of information and also teach basic media literacy skills.
To support the production and airing of the media literacy radio shows and content, the U.S. Consulate, WABMA and ELS donated equipment including computers, digital voice recorders, headsets and microphones to the radio stations.
“In the months to come, we ask that you promote media literacy skills and educate your audience and the people in your different social networks and communities to be vigilant against the threat of false information,” Ibelli said.
A secondary component of “Project Fact Check Nigeria” is to teach 1,000 young leaders the basics of digital fact-checking and how to separate fact from fiction and opinion using the existing media literacy curriculum of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
The Consulate said the participants will be empowered to educate people within their social networks and communities to promote media literacy which helps individuals identify malign narratives and misinformation.