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CDD Launches Election War Room To fight Fake News

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has launched an Election War Room, to combat false information and other bad actors during the poll.

In a statement by its executive director, Idayat Hassan, the CDD said for the importance of the coming election in the country all hands are be on deck to fight fake news and other electoral vices before and during the elections.

She said the CDD is committed to having a free and fair electioneering process in the country, and the election war room will help the voting process by working with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant stakeholders to achieve its goals.

She added that the CDD will publish a weekly report which will enhance and arm Nigerians against the havoc caused by fake news in society.

Citing the instance of a trending fake news a few years ago about the death of Nigeria’s President, Mohammadu Buhari, Hassan Idayat noted that CDD could debunk such information through such a machinery, stating that her organisation will be publishing debunks to false claims flying around during the elections period.

The statement reads: “the Centre for Democracy and Development has unveiled an Election War Room for tackling disinformation, misinformation, and the activities of bad actors ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“Africa’s largest democracy is going into what many hope will be the country’s turning point election. As part of its mandate to help the nation deliver free, fair, and credible elections, CDD’s Election War Room will play an important role in making this election free from the narrative influence of bad actors.

“On a weekly basis, our team of detailed, vibrant, and tech-savvy youths will publish a brief about our findings within the disinformation and fact-checking ecosystem in Nigeria.

“The team already monitors all political players, news organizations, security agencies, fact-checkers, electoral umpire, and all other stakeholders.

“Our weekly briefs will arm Nigerians with verifiable information on possible points of misinformation and disinformation provide insight into controversial and contentious issues; and prepare citizens for expected waves of disinformation within the political arena.

“Why is this important? In the 2019 election, disinformation spread across northern Nigeria claiming a coalition formed by the LGBTQ community in Nigeria had endorsed Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for president.

“In the same election year, doctored images were shared across social media alongside claims that Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had died and was replaced by a body double infamously known as Jibril of Sudan. With the benefit of hindsight, both claims were false.

“For the 2023 elections, CDD Election War Room will deal with such disinformation by highlighting seeders and bad actors who begin and drive such narratives across the major social media platforms.

“The team will also produce prebunks to act as fact shields against misinformation ahead of the elections. In this War Room, our goal is simple: to make this the most factual election in Nigeria’s history.”

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