In an effort to effectively deal with the proliferation of fake news and misinformation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has significantly ramped-up its fact-checking project. The scale-up efforts have included the hiring of 50 additional fact-checkers and teaming up with 50 media organisations across Ghana in what is designated as a Media Alliance Against COVID-19 Misinformation.
Access to salient information that is credible is key to preventing diseases and promoting good health. Therefore, citizens can make informed decisions about COVID-19 and other aspects of their lives only when they get credible and factual information.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a proliferation of fake news and misinformation about the disease. The scale-up effort by the MFWA is, therefore, aimed at ensuring that the public has access to verified and factual information about the disease.
“It is significant and heartwarming to have 50 media organisations spread across all the 16 regions of Ghana, delivering content in the different local languages of the country come together in a collaborative effort to enhance public education and counter fake news about the pandemic,” said Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of the MFWA.
Besides the broadcast and publication of fact-check reports, the 50 media partners in the Alliance will complement ongoing efforts on educating the public about the disease. Apart from publications and broadcast by the media partners, all fact-checked reports are published on the fact-checking project website: www.fact-checkghana.com, and the project’s social media pages.
The MFWA’s fact-checking project started in 2016 ahead of the general elections where it verified and provided facts about a number of claims that were made by political party and state officials.
The scaling-up of the fact-checking work on the COVID-19 pandemic is made possible with funding support from the STAR-Ghana Foundation under its Ghana COVID-19 Response Project. The Ghana COVID-19 Response Project is aimed at complementing efforts by government and other stakeholders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate the effects and risks of the pandemic.