iVerify partners take stock of the fact-checking platform and discuss the sustainability of the platform
iVerify partners take stock of the fact-checking platform
September 19, 2023
Freetown, 18 September 2023 – The iVerify consortium partners concluded a 2-day workshop on Friday 15 September with a strong call to ensure the sustainability of the fact-checking platform.
The event was attended the United Nations Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi; United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Frederick Hans Ampiah; the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Ahmed Said Nasrallah; the BBC Media Action Country Director Edward Kargbo; of the National Coordinator of the Independent Radio Network (IRN) Ransford Wright; as well as representatives of contributing partners, electoral management bodies, political parties, civil society organizations, and the press.
iVerify was launched on 5 April 2023 with the technical support of the UNDP’s Elections Project in order to enhance the trust and confidence of stakeholders in the electoral process and to help prevent the spread of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech. The platform successfully fact-checked 170 stories to date, including 40 during election week, and played a widely recognized role during the 2023 campaign.
In his keynote address, Resident Coordinator Babatunde Ahonsi said: “The rationale for iVerify is rooted in the ambition to foster responsible and professional reporting practices. As no single media outlet has the capacity to monitor the spread of rumors constantly, iVerify has effectively provided avenues for enhanced cooperation around the verification of information. Let us reaffirm our commitment to uphold the diversity of opinions and tolerance, and work to prevent and stop hate speech. The fight against dis/misinformation & hate speech should be a continuous effort.”
SLAJ President Ahmad S Nasrallah: “The 2023 elections in Sierra Leone demonstrated the urgency of countering disinformation in a rapidly evolving information landscape. This workshop serves as a crucial platform to exchange knowledge, harness collective expertise, and pave the way for a more resilient democracy in Sierra Leone. Together, we will learn from the past to shape a more informed and truthful future for our nation's electoral processes.”
BBC Media Action Country Director Edward Kargbo: “From research that helped us understand the scale of the problem to the fact-checking platform that provided verified information; and the digital media literacy work we did on social media and radio, the iVerify project was at the forefront of efforts to tackle mis-disinformation during the elections. This important work must continue.”
IRN National Coordinator, Ransford S. C. Wright: “Given the challenges posed to the media landscape by misinformation via social media, I believe iVerify has come a long way in reducing the spread of such information. iVerify has made many people realize that not everything that appears on social media can be true, regardless of who the author is. In other words, it raised a certain level of awareness amongst citizens. IRN’s radio work also contributed significantly to this among audiences who do not have access to social media.”
Assessing the way forward, the workshop participants shared several recommendations including the possible expansion of the platform to tackle a wider range of topics; the launch of a mobile application and a series of podcasts to reach a wider audience.
Hosted by SLAJ, the iVerify consortium benefits from the technical support of UNDP’s Elections Project (“Fostering Peaceful, Credible, and Inclusive Elections in Sierra Leone 2022-2023”) which is administered thanks to generous contributions from the Government of Ireland, the European Union, the Government of Canada, the Government of Iceland, UNDP, and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.