Before the emergence of Coronavirus as a global pandemic, people in Nigeria and other countries have had and still having bad experiences regarding misinformation and fake news from a number of sources such as social media and professionals in the mainstream media who do not regard ethics of journalism as imperative for disseminating information that enhances personal and societal development.
In line with this, “Know COVID-19 Nigeria was established to ensure the provision of adequate, relevant, reliable and relatable information, debunk fake news and provide safety, health and precautionary tips that could help people stay safe, informed and protected.”
According to the report from the organisation, issued by one of the Co-Founder, Abdulhakeem Abdulkareem, “Fighting fake news goes beyond putting red flags, it is about ensuring the right information gets to the people.” In this regard, the organisation has been using a number of platforms to disseminate undiluted messages about the virus to the public and concerned stakeholders leveraging verified sources such as the National Centre for Disease Control.
With over 100 volunteers from different fields of disciplines, more than 30 fake news have been debunked in the form of audio, videos, pictures and written posts. The report says the government is optimistic about stopping the spread of the virus, while citizens have been supportive since the first case was reported on February 27, 2020 in Lagos, the commercial centre of the country.
“We noticed some uncorrelated data in NCDC Database and alerted the centre but no action was taken. For example, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, announced that he has tested negative to the virus on 06 April 2020. However, the NCDC database recorded zero (0) recovered cases in Oyo state as of 07 April 2020. NCDC acknowledged our email but did not reveal any intention of taking action. We are, however, watching the situation closely,” the report says.