Cohort 7 of our quarterly Africa Factchecking Fellowship groups journalists, bloggers and youth leaders based in the North West & South West Regions of Cameroon.
CONTEXT & JUSTIFICATION
For the past two years, #defyhatenow Cameroon has been running the Africa Fact-checking Fellowship with the aim of equipping professionals with the resources and technical skills to fight online disinformation. To this effect, six cohorts have been formed, bringing together professionals from the South West, North West, Littoral, Centre, North, Far North and West Regions of Cameroon. Twenty members of the Cameroon Bloggers Association from Douala, Yaoundé and Dschang have also benefited from this Fellowship, with two alumni based and operating in neighbouring Chad.
Presently, Cohort 7 takes the number of online fact-checking and hate speech professionals trained under #AFFCameroon from 75 to 155 Fellows, with technical assistance from ADISI-Cameroon through its sub-structure www.data-cameroun.com.
The Internet and social media have greatly increased the sharing of information on a daily basis. This large flow of information is accompanied by data that is not always verified, it can manipulate or mislead general opinion. This situation facilitates the exercise of fact-checking, which in reality is not a new practice. It has existed for a long time in newsrooms. Today, Big data and Open data have accelerated data processing, revolutionizing the verification of information.
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.
Two major contexts surround the spread and circulation of fake news online in Cameroon. These are the Anglophone crisis of 2016 and the post-election crisis of 2018. To date, fake news and hate speech online and even in the traditional media, take the form of news related to the contexts mentioned. Despite the efforts of the actors, the phenomenon is taking on worrying proportions, with tribalist attacks and offline abuses as a backdrop.
Faced with the resurgence of fake news and misinformation on social media, fact-checking now represents a challenge to peace, democracy and good governance.
About the Africa Factchecking Fellowship – #AFFCameroon
The Africa Fact-checking Fellowship was designed to track and map viral trends on social media related to major thematic issues in Cameroon. It also aims to select future trainers through its various cohorts, #AFFCameroon therefore aims to put seasoned professionals in the field. More information on: https://affcameroon.defyhatenow.org/
Africa Factchecking Fellowship (#AFFCameroon) aims to promote fact-checking, data journalism and digital rights to journalists, bloggers and content creators in Africa. The three-months program aims to equip fellows with the skills and tools to address the current challenges of fake news reporting in their countries of operation.
The program is based on a mixed 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.
The main objective is to create a great number of fact-checkers, fighting misinformation, hate speech, online and offline, and digital rights advocates in this part of the country, which is sometimes neglected by the mainstream media. The Africa Fact-Checking Fellowship (#AFFCameroon) therefore aims to promote fact-checking, data journalism and digital rights to journalists, bloggers and content creators in Africa.
The Africa Fact-checking Fellowship is designed
- To equip all our fellows with additional technical capacity in the practice of their online and offline media activities
- To monitor and map viral trends on social media related to major thematic issues in Cameroon that can have a significant impact on social cohesion and the relationship between the people and the state
- To select future #AFFCameroon trainers and leaders who can contribute to peace in communities both on the ground and online.
- To train 40 media professionals residing in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon in fact-checking techniques and skills;
- To increase the number of online content creators, helping to limit the spread of hate speech in Cameroon;
- To sensitise the media community on the dangers of the spread of online hate speech and mis/disinformation;
- To improve the communication system in the Anglophone Regions of Cameroon; by contributing to building peace and inter-ethnic cohesion.
To achieve this, a training session for 40 media and civil society professionals will be held over marked by two sessions in September and one in October 2022. During these workshops, experienced trainers will coach the selected candidates on advanced fact-checking skills, data journalism and digital rights.
During the training session Cohort 7 Fellows are expected to produce monthly reports on social media health, fact-checking articles and specialized meet-ups within various communities or groups of people to raise awareness on issues such as factchecking mis/disinformation and hate speech.
After the training session, Fellows are provided with sufficient resources to integrate the lessons learned into their professional activities. To do so, a dedicated online platform is available for further technical guidance. More information on www.237check.org
TRAINING PERIOD (September to October 2022)
During the course of the quaterly Fellowship, Fellows will attend three major learning events, including;
1st Quarter of September 2022 session (#Discovery): A two-day working session between Fellows, their mentor and invited experts.
Second Quarter of September 2022 session (#SharingExperiences): A two-day working session between Fellows, their mentor and invited experts
October 2022 session (#Impact): Two day working session between fellows, their mentor and invited experts.
Outside the above months, participants will be monitored online through a system that will be communicated to them.
To join #AFFCameroon online community and participate in discussions on ways to counter social media directed hatespeech, mis/disionformation, kindly follow and use the following #s when posting:
- On Facebook :
Hashtags: #AFFCameroon #Factchecking #Tech4Peace #Media4Peace #HateFreeCameroon, #DataJournalism #defyhatenow #CivicWatch #MediaLiteracy
- On Twitter :
Hashtags: #AFFCameroon #Factchecking #Tech4Peace #Media4Peace #HateFreeCameroon, #DataJournalism #defyhatenow #CivicWatch