From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Ahead of Edo and Ondo States governorship polls, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has trained journalists on how to counter misinformation and disinformation with the instrumentality of Meedan tool.

CDD Fact Checking Lead, Armsfree Ajanaku, during the exercise yesterday in Abuja, said peddlers of fake news must not be allowed to dissuade voters from taking part in the electoral process with disingenuous gimmicks.

Ajanaku, who, also, noted that Meedan Tool, remained a veritable instrument to debunk malicious reports, said CDD would continue to explore measures to provide accurate information on the electoral process.

He said: “Our focus is on how to use an innovative tool, known as the Meedan Check to enhance our countering disinformation efforts. As journalists, and professionals with the responsibility to inform the public, we cannot underestimate the threat posed by mis/disinformation.

“Misinformation and disinformation work in scattered and disorganized ways to undermine robust participation in key activities, which are at the heart of the process of consolidating democracy.

“The scale of the challenge is massive, and no one stakeholder working alone can effectively address a challenge of this scale.

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Only yesterday, we saw how even official communication from the highest office in the land could result in the misinformation of citizens.

“There is a plethora of other instances, which make it imperative for us as journalists and information managers to be vigilant and circumspect when we share information.

“Disinformation and every other form of information disorder are capable of sparking chain reactions, which could either lead to break down of law and order or distrust in democratic institutions.

“Disinformation could be the reason voters stay away completely from casting their ballots in elections.

‘As we build up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo State, come September 21 and November 16, 2024 therefore, CDD strongly believes in working closely with the media to counter disinformation in all its ramifications.

“It is to start the process of achieving this goal that we are hosting this Breakfast Session on the Meedan.

“Our fact checkers will take you through practical sessions on how to use the Meedan Check. In the end, we are looking forward to seeing you use the Meedan tool extensively in your work as journalists.

“We similarly look forward to your support in helping to publicize the Meedan tool by letting the public know they can report claims through the Meedan Check and those claims will be verified in a timely manner.”