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US govt, groups unveil project to empower 170 journalists in 17 southern states

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The United States Government through the US Consulate General in Lagos, in collaboration with the West Africa Broadcast and Media Academy (WABMA) and Enugu Literacy Society (ELS), have launched “Project Fact Check Nigeria,” a media literacy and counter misinformation project, to empower journalists and youths in Nigeria.

The development was disclosed in a statement made available to Ripples Nigeria on Tuesday by the US 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 17 states in southern Nigeria.

About 170 radio hosts, producers, and reporters will be equipped with fact-checking skills and would explore best practices for spotting fake news, disinformation, and misinformation.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop in Lagos on Monday, U.S. Consulate Public Affairs Officer Stephen Ibelli explained that a healthy democracy required both an informed public and an accountable media that provides truthful and objective information.

Read also: Ahead of 2023, Nigerian journalists warn politicians against destructive politics

“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,” Ibelli noted.

Also, a secondary component of “Project Fact Check Nigeria” would empower 1,000 youths with the basics of digital fact-checking and teach them 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 malign narratives and misinformation.

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