#AFFCameroon Cohort 8: Enhancing Responsible Newsrooms & Social Media Platforms for a #HateFreeCameroon

Thirty-one newly selected Fellows embark on a three months long hands-on on information verification, advanced search tools and Media literacy programs.

In Cameroon, the verification of online information is becoming increasingly crucial. This growth is due to the need to mitigate the increase in fake news online, a subject that is not well covered by the mainstream media. To date, fake news and hate speech online and even in the traditional media, take the form of news related to the contexts where the content creators operate. Despite the efforts of the actors, the phenomenon is taking on worrying proportions, with tribalist attacks and offline abuses as a backdrop.

#defyhatenow Cameroon has for the past three years, run the “Africa Fact-checking Fellowship” #AFFCameroon program, which aims to equip professionals with fact-checking skills to recognise misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation online. To date, eight cohorts of approximately 146 professionals from the Centre, Littoral, South-West, North-West, Adamawa, North, Far-North, and West Regions of Cameroon have directly benefited from the Fellowship. The objective is to establish a critical mass of fact-checkers, right information advocates, online and offline hate speech, and digital rights defenders.

The Africa Fact-checking Fellowship – #AFFCameroon is designed to track and map viral trends on social media related to current challenges of ‘fake news’ in Cameroon. Through its different cohorts, #AFFCameroon aims to enhance the skills of experienced professionals to effectively contribute to peace building and social cohesion through combating disinformation and hate speech. It also aims to select future trainers through its various cohorts, thereby putting seasoned professionals in the field equipped with the necessary skills. With a hybrid learning model that uses webinars, practical lessons, peer-to-peer learning and fieldwork, fellows will have access to a rich set of online tools and resources as well as a network of experts and professionals from around the world to guide and mentor them throughout this training period.

Meet Cohort 8 Fellows of Africa Fact-checking Fellowship – #AFFCameroon

The Cohort 8 Fellows started their factchecking journey from June 15 – 17, 2023, with an onsite training grouping 31 fellows to run for a period of three months; that is, June – July – August 2023, during which they will be called upon to immerse themselves in methods and techniques in fact-checking, online data collection and analysis, community engagement and awareness-raising against disinformation and hate speech. The fellows’ work will be monitored and published on our dedicated platform www.237check.org.

Discover HERE the faces and biographies of our newly selected #AFFCameroon Cohort 8 Fellows. Selected from over 350 profiles in response to our online call for applications, these new fellows are media professionals, bloggers, content creators, influencers and association leaders who have been demonstrating their commitment online and offline for peace, social cohesion and development in Cameroon and Africa with distinct skills sets in varying fields. Selected from different parts of Cameroon based on the knowledge of daily socio-political and economic realities, particularly in conflict-hit regions. They will be trained by renonwed experts in methods and techniques for fact-checking, combating online hate speech and cybersecurity.

Creating FactChecking Soldiers: A Continuous Exercise for PeaceBuilding

Fact-checking has become increasingly important due to the speed with which both information and misinformation can spread in the modern media ecosystem. Researchers have been exploring how fact-checking can be automated, using techniques based on natural language processing, machine learning, knowledge representation, and databases to automatically predict the veracity of claims for a responsible online space.

During this period, fellows will equally have the opportunity to be followed up and mentored by Alumni Fellows who have distinguished themselves in the program. This will allow them to have hands-on experience in producing researched Social Media Health Reports – SMHR and fact checking articles. During these three months, they have also been mandated to lead public discourse by changing perspectives in their respective communities and work spaces by educating the masses on the dangers of hatespeech; ways to counter the proliferation of misinformation and disinformation through basic verification tools.

#defyhatenow #AFFCamerooon #ThinkB4UClick #SafeDigitalSpaces #HateFreeCameroon

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