French version here
Deadline 1st July 2020.
Misinformation and propaganda have existed for as long as humans lived and communicated with each other, provided there is information sharing, its alterations, and manipulation is bound to happen. The advent of social media has made it possible for individuals (users) to share information quickly and at an unprecedented scale. This new era of information sharing and social media creates unique misinformation challenges that have the potential to cause societal divisions and worsen the state of public discourse.
Governments, private sector, media, and civil society actors worldwide are working hard to mitigate the effects of misinformation and the dangers of harmful online content. The push to tackle “Fake news” stems from the global realization of the danger that misinformation and misleading content poses to individuals, institutions, and the public in general. With the UN secretary-general António Guterres remarking that “Our common enemy is #COVID19, but our enemy is also an “infodemic” of misinformation. To overcome the #coronavirus, we need to urgently promote facts & science, hope & solidarity over despair & division.”. This sentiment are also shared by many institutions nationally and globally as noted in UNESCO’s Journalism, ‘Fake News’ & Disinformation Handbook for Journalism Education and Training,
“Now, the danger is the development of an ‘arms race’ of national and international disinformation spread through partisan ‘news’ organisations and social media channels, polluting the information environment for all sides in a way that can come back to haunt the initiators themselves”
Fact-checking as a practice is not new; it has been an established part of newsrooms for a long time. Fact-checking of online information and public claims has been growing over the past few years; this growth is motivated by the need to mitigate the increase in fake and online misinformation, a subject that is not well covered by the traditional media.
In Cameroon the fact-checking ecosystem is nascent but growing at a rapid pace, with the most notable platforms being Data Cameroon, STOPBLABLACAM, Stopintox.cm , and the most recent one being COVID-19 CM.
About Africa Fact-checking fellowship
Africa Fact-checking fellowship was designed to follow up and to succeed our previous #FactsMatter237 fellowship which was launched in January 2020, #FactsMatter237 was aimed at monitoring and mapping viral trends on social media related to the key thematic issues in Cameroon.
In the two months pilot (Jan-Feb 2020), our six fellows published more than 12 fact-checking reports on various issues in Cameroon, including a notable report by Frank William Batchou which was cited by the US embassy in Cameroon . After seeing the success of the #FactsMatter fellowship and listening to the feedback from various partners and fellows we opted to rebrand and program to Africa Fact-checking fellowship. The new changes include the extension of the fellowship duration of from 2 months to 3 months, the new program will also feature an enhanced program with more practical sessions and lessons by guest experts from various organizations.
the #Africa Fact-Checking Fellowship (AFF) is an initiative by #defyhatenow in partnership Data Cameroon which aims at promoting fact-checking, data journalism, and digital rights among journalists, bloggers, and content creators in Africa. The three-month program is geared towards providing fellows with the skill sets and tools needed to tackle the current misinformation challenges in their countries of operation.
The program is based on a blended learning model that utilizes webinars, practical lessons, peer learning, and practical field assignments. Fellows will gain access to a rich set of tools and online resources as well as a network of experts and professionals from across the globe.
Selected applicants will be notified by email and are selected to join the program starting the first week of July 2020.
Who should apply:
- Content creators and influencers
- Digital rights activists
- Between 17 and 35 old
Be available from the beginning to the end of the fellowship
How to apply
The #defyhatenow is an initiative that works on providing community-based and data-driven solutions to the problem of hate speech, disinformation and misinformation. Our work focuses on creating a framework for increasing trust between stakeholders through mobilizing civic action against all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence. #defyhatenow seeks to support the voices acting against the online induced conflict to go ‘viral’ within and outside affected regions by bringing youth, community leaders, grassroots organizations and further civil society stakeholders into a peace-oriented media and information literacy framework. Bridging gaps of knowledge and awareness of social media mechanisms between those with access to technology and those without, #defyhatenow is a growing network of online and offline peacebuilders. Read more here
About Data Cameroon
Data Cameroon is a platform published by ADISI-Cameroon. Its purpose is to promote Fact-checking, Data Journalism and freedom of the press online. It covers national news and is made up of 4 permanent staff working at the headquarters of the organization based in Douala in Cameroon and has a network of more than 10 journalists covering the entire national territory and mainly the English and French speaking regions with high stakes political, social and economic. It is an independent platform. Read more here