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Dubawa celebrates 2021 International Fact-Checking Day

4 mins read A bi-weekly newsletter that takes a closer look at the significance of elements of truth and falsehood in today’s news stories.

4 mins read

International Fact-checking Day and Dubawa’s contribution to mark the day.

If there was ever a year fact-checkers worked around the clock, 2020 would easily be considered as that year. Faced with a global pandemic and its accompanying misinformation and a political and electoral season with its associated propaganda for some countries, fact-checkers were kept busy debunking all manner of fake news in 2020. The misconception of our work as censorship, enduring the days of verbal and legal attacks, the days of writer’s block, the days of no available sources to speak to on a claim, the days of burn out… We too, deserve a day the world appreciates the work we do.

April 2 is International Fact-Checking Day, and what a coincidence (or not) it is to be held right after April Fool’s Day on 1 April – a day of facetious fake news, hoaxes, and pranks. International Fact-Checking Day (IFCD), a partnership between the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) and fact-checking organisations around the world, is held annually and this year will mark the fifth since its inception in 2017.  

To help mitigate the injurious effects of the COVID-19 infodemic on the public, the IFCN formed the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance by mobilising fact-checkers from more than 70 countries across the world who submitted over 3,000 COVID-19 related fact-checks found in a searchable database. This initiative will serve as the main highlight for 2021’s IFCD in honour of the collaborative work of fact-checkers fighting COVID-19 related misinformation. To participate in this global conversation on 2 April on Twitter, anyone can follow @factchecknet or engage with the hashtag #FactcheckingDay

Dubawa, which is a signatory under the IFCN, will equally be marking the day across its three West African countries – Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. Beside amplifying basic fact-checking techniques through videos on social media in the week ahead, the team would be hosting the general public to a webinar. 

The webinar is intended to offer a human interest perspective to misinformation and fact-checking by providing an opportunity to victims of misinformation and fact-checkers to share their unique experiences with the public. It is expected that hearing from the ‘horse’s own mouth’ will lead to the much desired behaviour change required in fighting misinformation and encourage everyone to at least verify before sharing. 

The panelists consist of fact-checkers who have been selected from verified fact-checking outlets in Africa: Dubawa (Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria), GhanaFact (Ghana) and AFP (Nigeria) and a victim of misinformation, the former Deputy Minister of Communication and Member of Parliament of Awutu Senya West Constituency in the Central Region of Ghana, George Andah, who was purported to have displayed a gun at a registration centre prior to the 2020 Ghana elections.

Although initially planned for 2 April, the webinar will be held instead on 1 April at 10am GMT on Dubawa Facebook live and Zoom, in consideration of the Easter holiday also happening on 2 April. What better way to spend April Fools Day than to listen to fact-checkers help you decipher the information you receive and to listen to victims of misinformation share the effects fake news has had on them, so you do not fall prey. Join us on Facebook live at @dubawa.

Latest Fact-checks

False: The little boy in yellow is NOT the Covid-19 vaccine inventor

An image of a man, woman and four children, making the rounds on WhatsApp and other social media platforms is being purported to be the family portrait of Dr. Ugur Sahin. The text specifically states that the little boy in yellow and wearing no shoes is Dr. Sahin, the Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech, a German biotech company, which along with its Pfizer partner from the United States, developed the coronavirus vaccine. However, this was found to be false.

Click here for the full fact-check

Old media report of traditional priest denied SHS admission resurfaces as new 

Recent news reports of two Rastafarians allegedly being denied admission to Achimota Senior School because of their dreadlocks has dominated Ghanaian media discussions. Shortly, another report emerged that an 18-year-old traditional priest had also been denied admission to Dzodze-penyi Senior High School due to his religious beliefs. However, this particular incident happened in 2018, and not in 2021 as was reported. 

Click here for the full fact-check

Can You Be Jailed for Not Honouring an Agreement to Visit After Accepting Money for that Purpose? 

A post in circulation by Ghanaian social media users suggests that men,  who find themselves in situations of sending transport money to a lady to visit them without the lady fulfilling the promise or refunding the money  are eligible to file a case against such ladies for defrauding by false pretense. But legal experts have explained that in order to file viable cases on the basis of defrauding by false pretense in cases similar to what the claim in question suggests, certain criteria need to be met. Such cases are also considered on their individual basis, with considerations made on the ingredients of the case.

Click here for the full fact-check

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Website: ghana.dubawa.org

Twitter: @dubawaGH

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Maxine Gloria Danso is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Maxine has previously worked as a Research Assistant engaging in some notable communication research projects in Ghana, having completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, with specialisation in journalism, public relations and advertising. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from the University of Ghana, with a University Diploma in French Studies from Université Rennes 2 in France. Maxine contributes to the team by drawing from her knowledge and research experience in media studies.

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