UNDEF-funded project to strengthen media literacy and fact-checking skills
With the support of United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) will run Africa Check, the continent’s leading independent fact-checking organization, a four-year multi-pronged project to fight misinformation and strengthen democracy. The project, Media literacy for evidence-based decision-making in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, aims to strengthen media literacy and fact-checking skills.
The project will use Africa Check’s 360-degree approach to tackling misinformation, working with key stakeholders such as journalists and the general public.
With the support of UNDEF, Africa Check pursues the following goals:
Enable the public – especially youth – to be more critical of the information they see and share.
Increase access to accurate information.
Strengthening the fact-checking ability of students, journalists and bloggers.
Media literacy programs hold promise as a proactive strategy to combat misinformation current research carried out by Africa Check, Full Fact and Checkeado found.
The project’s media literacy intervention aims to proactively vaccinate people against misinformation and support them to critically understand, analyze and evaluate information instead of simply consuming and sharing it. To reach new audiences and get in deeper contact with them, the media literacy campaign is being created in various formats and local languages such as isiZulu (South Africa), Hausa (Nigeria) and Kiswahili (Kenya).
The youth will be a central focus group. By building media literacy at a young age, we believe that young people can be empowered to be informed users of information for life. The intervention is expected to reach 4,800 learners through “infotainment” events in secondary schools in the three countries.
This project will also improve access to accurate information on key issues such as health, finance, education and politics that the public and policy makers can use to participate in public debates and make evidence-based decisions. Africa Check will step up its fact-checking work through news media and social media channels to improve access to reliable information for a wide audience in the three countries.
Another focus of the project will be promoting and building fact-checking skills in communication and journalism students, journalists and bloggers or citizen reporters who play a key role in the information ecosystem. In the fight against misinformation, it is crucial that fact-checking is not limited to specialist organizations such as Africa Check.
By strengthening the fact-checking skills of current and future journalists, the aim is to promote a fact-checking culture in the newsroom to ensure that information that goes public is accurate and verified.
While fact-checking skills training is an essential first step, we believe it needs to be a catalyst in building a broader fact-checking culture among journalists. For this reason, the participants also receive structured support after the training in order to anchor their learning. There will also be a targeted mentoring program for selected participants through our Africa Facts network, which brings together fact checkers from across the continent.