The United States government says it is committed to supporting initiatives that promote and improve media literacy in Nigeria.
Stephen Ibelli, the U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer, said the U.S. government through the partnership intends to build the capacity of 170 radio journalists and 1,000 youth on media literacy.
He spoke during the launch of ‘Project Fact Check Nigeria,’ a media literacy and countering misinformation project in Lagos.
The project launched by the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and the Enugu Literacy Society (ELS) was supported by the U.S Consulate General in Lagos.
The project seeks to strengthen critical thinking skills, expand digital and media literacy, and build the capacity of radio journalists to counter misinformation and disinformation across the 17 states of southern Nigeria.
“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,” Mr Ibelli said.
He explained that a healthy democracy requires both an informed public and accountable media that provides truthful and objective information.
A secondary component of ‘Project Fact Check Nigeria’ is to teach 1,000 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 participants will be empowered to educate people within their social networks and communities to promote media literacy which helps individuals identify misinformation.
During the launch, radio stations received broadcast equipment including computers, digital voice recorders, headsets, and microphones to support the production and airing of media literacy radio programmes from the U.S. Consulate, WABMA, and ELS.
“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,” Mr Ibelli said while presenting the equipment.
The participants are expected to create and air radio programmes that promote media literacy for 12 months.
The radio shows and the content will highlight the importance of personal accountability in the dissemination of information and also teach basic media literacy skills.
Jika Atton, director of WABMA, charged media practitioners to act professionally in the dissemination of verifiable information.
According to Mr Attoh, when fake news is disseminated by media professionals, “it could have annoying consequences.”
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