IPC Launches App to Tackle Misinformation, Fake News

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The International Press Centre (IPC-Nigeria) has launched the iVerify project to strengthen the fight against misinformation and fake news, while also promoting information integrity around election, governance and democratic processes in Nigeria

The Executive Director, IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, while speaking on Thursday in Abuja at the unveiling of iVerify Nigeria Platform organised by IPC in partnership with UNDP said the initiative was supported by government.

He explained that the project was aimed at strengthening efforts against information disorder, particularly in the context of electoral and democratic processes.

Arogundade noted that IPC has already begun optimising the platform, stressing that the platform use a tech-savvy fact-checking tool with a human element.

He said fact-checkers are overseen by senior journalists to ensure adherence to professional standards.

His words: “The core objective is to establish a technology-driven platform, provide capacity building for journalists in fact-checking electoral information, promote media literacy, and engage in public enlightenment to combat information disorder. Collaboration is key to advocating for a credible environment in information dissemination,

“There are plans to recruit full-time fact checkers, and freelance journalists, and training of 1,000 fact checkers across 36 states before the 2027 elections.”

Also, the Resident Representative of UNDP, Mr. Lealem Dinku, said the iVerify Nigeria platform concept was conceived by UNDP as a mechanism to promote information integrity around election, governance and democratic processes in Nigeria.

He stressed that the imperative of this project was to deepen democratic culture in Nigeria by converting the negative influence of the proliferation of information disorder in the nation’s polity especially during electioneering period.

Dinku noted that the advancement in technology and diptal transformation in recent years is adding positive values to human development.

He said nonetheless, the advantage of this technological progress was being degraded by the misuse of social media to create needless tension and sometimes violence in the society.

Dinku added: “Social media is often awash with disinformation, misinformation and hate speech which hampers citizen’s ability to make an informed decision about events that affect their life and wellbeing.

“Government is grappling with the myriad implications of the misuse of social and to curb its menace as effort to lessen the misuse of social media has been resisted by stakeholders including the media practitioners.

“The inability of government to deal decisively with the menace of information disorder occasioned by social media through legal framework is not limited to Nigeria alone: it is a global issue.

“The spate of information disorder must be checked This is what the iVerify Nigeria project sets out achieve. We must all rally round it to ensure its success through moral, financial and technical support.”

On his part, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, urged Nigerians to halt the spread of fake news as it could incite violence.

Yakubu who was represented by INEC Acting Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mary Nkem, said hate speech could undermine democratic values, core principles of democracy, such as respect for human rights, and create tension in the society.

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