Africa Fact-checking Fellowship defyhatenow (9th Cohort) Application – The increasing adoption of ICT usage in Cameroon, coupled with the democratization of public speech, has made it possible for often inexperienced players to manipulate, disseminate, or influence information with nefarious intentions. Today, hate speech, misinformation, disinformation, and malformation are prevalent in online spaces and the mainstream media. Furthermore, the widespread use of AI, while presenting opportunities, is a sobering reminder of the potential threats it could bring to the media and information ecosystem. It is packaged using methods designed to manipulate public opinion and serve the interests of its initiators. This contributes to the weakening of social cohesion and critical thinking within the Cameroonian society, which is characterised by fragile socio-political and security issues.
Since 2016, the Anglophone conflict in the North West and South West Regions and the 2018 post-election crisis in the country have crystallised public debates and increased consumption and spread of ‘fake news’ online and in traditional media. Despite the efforts of various actors, the situation is taking alarming proportions in the context of tribalist attacks and their offshoots.
Yet fact-checking is not new in the newsroom. In recent years, there has been an increase in the verification of online information and public claims due to the proliferation of fake news on social media. This desire to combat the proliferation of dis/misinformation online is underreported in online and offline media.
It is in this context that #defyhatenow Cameroon has, for the past three years, run the Africa Fact-checking Fellowship- #AFFCameroon program, which aims to equip professionals with fact-checking skills to recognise misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation online. Eight cohorts of approximately 145 professionals from the Centre, Littoral, South-West, North-West, Adamawa, North, Far-North, and West Regions have benefited directly from the fellowship.
Following this, #defyhatenow Cameroon is initiating a call for applications for its ninth cohort of professionals from October to December 2023. The objective is to establish a critical mass of fact-checkers, right information advocates, on/offline hate speech and digital rights defenders.
About the Africa Fact-checking Fellowship – #AFFCameroon
The Africa Fact-checking Fellowship – #AFFCameroon is designed to track and map viral trends on social media related to current challenges of ‘fake news’ in Cameroon. Through its different cohorts, #AFFCameroon aims to enhance the skills of experienced professionals to effectively contribute to peace-building and social cohesion by combating disinformation and hate speech. It intends to promote fact-checking, data journalism and digital rights towards African journalists, bloggers and content creators. The program is based on a blended learning model using webinars, practical lessons, peer-to-peer learning and on-the-ground practical work. Fellows will have access to a rich set of online tools and resources and a network of experts and professionals worldwide.
Who can Apply
- Digital Content creators
- Digital rights activists and/defenders
- Community-based organisation
- Opinion and community leaders
- Between 20 and 40 years old
Place of residence
- All regions of Cameroon
- 08 October 2023.
- Be available throughout the training
- Understand English and French
- Own a working smartphone and laptop
- Be computer literate,
- Active on social media handles.
N.B.: Selected applicants will be notified by email of their selection for the program by 13 October 2023.
#defyhatenow is an initiative that aims to provide community-based, data-driven solutions to the problem of hate speech, misinformation and fake news. Our work focuses on creating a framework for building trust among stakeholders by mobilising civic action against all forms of hate speech and incitement to violence. #defyhatenow seeks to help voices against online-induced conflict go ‘viral’ within and beyond affected regions by engaging youth, community leaders, grassroots organisations and other civil society actors in a peace framework in media and information. Bridging the gaps in knowledge and awareness of social media mechanisms between those with access to technology and those without. Finally, #defyhatenow is a growing network of online and offline peacekeepers.