By Friday Omosola
To promote media literacy and combat misinformation among Nigerians, especially young people, 25 campus journalists at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko have been equipped with fact-checking and media literacy skills.
The two-day training, organized by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and sponsored by the German Embassy in Nigeria, included participants from the Mass Communication Department of the university.
Alfred Akerele, ICIR’s Programs Officer, stated that the training aimed to enhance campus journalists’ fact-checking skills, enabling them to debunk misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation effectively.
Akerele emphasized that ICIR was focused on building campus journalists’ verification skills and educating them on advocating for rights and promoting accurate information dissemination.
He explained that the program was essential due to the widespread dissemination of fake news, especially during the challenging periods of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recently concluded 2023 general elections.
When asked about ICIR’s expectations from the trained campus journalists, he said, “The students are expected to be advocates for the right information dissemination and serve as good ambassadors of journalism.”
“We are aware of their excellence in Mass Communication, but we are empowering them to further strengthen their skills,” he added.
Akerele also mentioned that a fact-checking club had been established for the trained campus journalists. This club would serve as a platform to conduct workshops, seminars, and training sessions for other students, creating a community where the media ecosystem will be rational and sanitized.
Earlier, AAUA Vice Chancellor, Professor Olugbenga Ige, emphasized the university’s commitment to enhancing the educational experience of its students.
He expressed gratitude for being selected as one of the 12 universities in Nigeria to participate in the “Countering Misinformation and Promoting Media Literacy” project, reiterating the university’s full support for the students’ learning journey.
Raphael Abimbola, Head of the Mass Communication Department, stated that the training would enable campus journalists to gain a comprehensive understanding of investigative reporting, as well as the issues of misinformation, disinformation, and spreading rumours, which have become significant concerns in Nigeria.
He assured the students that the department would continue collaborating with media institutions to extend its influence and urged them to leverage the training for self-improvement.