Muhammad Dahiru Lawal, PR Nigeria Reporter, Managing Editor, Arewa Agenda
Muhammad Dahiru Lawal, PR Nigeria Reporter, Managing Editor, Arewa Agenda

PRNigeria Reporter Selected for Kwame Karikari Fact Checking Fellowship

TECH DIGEST – A reporter with PRNigeria, Mohammad Dahiru Lawal has been selected for the Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking and Research Fellowship as part of the 2021 cohort of fact-checkers to combat misinformation in the Wes-African sub-region.

Dahiru emerged out of the top 26 successful applicants drawn from over 200 applications in The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The Programme by renowned Fact-Checking and verification platform, Dubawa, under the aegis of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) is aimed at tackling misinformation and holding political elites accountable for their words and actions while expanding the reach of verified information to grassroots communities.

In her opening remarks during the induction and training excersise of the selected fellows which commenced Tuesday, the Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Aisha Osori, noted that the Programme is fundamental owing to the fact that the world is changing and people have to change with it especially in an era of “misinformation” and “mal-information.”

“We are in a post-truth era, nothing is as it seems and truth has lost its power therefore smashing lies and disinformation with facts are the best defense,” she stated.

Also speaking, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, Executive Director for the PTCIJ, said that the Programme will equip Journalists with all the empowerment mechanisms they need to combat misinformation, disinformation and fake news in the digital era.

Earlier in a statement, Dubawa programme manager, Adedeji Adekunle, said in the training faculty for the programme are drawn from a pool of the leading global experts in the field of fact-checking who come with individual and organizational talents which includes Peter Cunliffe-Jones, founder of Africa Check, and current course co-director/researcher at the University of Westminster in the United Kingdom; Youri van der Weide, researcher and trainer at the global investigative organisation, Bellingcat; and Craig Silverman, author, trainer, and the digital editor, at BuzzFeed.

Others are Prof. Kwame Karikari, former professor, School of Communications, University of Ghana, Legon and Chairman of the Board of the Daily Graphic newspaper in Accra; Dr Chido Onumah, coordinator of the African Centre for Information and Media Literacy, AFRICMIL; Kemi Busari, Editor of DUBAWA; Deji Adekunle, DUBAWA Programme Manager; Caroline Anipah, Ghana Programme Lead for DUBAWA; and Dapo Olorunyomi, Executive Director for the PTCIJ.

Dahiru who is also a reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Open Contract Reporting Project (OCRP) is a final year student of the Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University Kano (BUK). He is also Managing Editor of Arewa Agenda, a platform of young Northern writers advocating national unity and development.

In December 2020, he emerged overall Campus Journalist of the Year during the annual Campus Journalism and Dialogue Award Organized by Youths Digest. Dahiru also clinched the best features writer of the year (print category) at the same ceremony.

Previously, he had led the PRNigeria team that bursted 101 fake news that were propagated during the EndSARS protest in October last year.

Now in its third year, the 2021 fellowship is christened Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking and Research Fellowship in honour of Ghanaian Professor, Kwame Karikari.

The Kwame Karikari Fellowship is Supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the 2021 cohort will run for a period of six months.