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LOCAL MEDIA DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION BENEFITS FROM FULBRIGHT SUPPORT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FAKE NEWS


  22 Juillet      6        Media (1844),

   

(SLENA, 22th July, 2022).The Initiatives for Media Development (IMdev) a local media development organisation has benefitted from a Fulbright Program specialist Fellow Michael M. Epstein, J.D., Ph.D. to support its flagship Salone Fact Checker initiative (https://www.facebook.com/salonefactcheckpoint/) in Sierra Leone with funding from the US Embassy in Sierra Leone and the United States Fulbright Program.
Michael is a Professor of Law at the Southwestern Law School and a Supervising Editor of the Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law. He has published widely on global fake news initiatives including the 2017 Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Fake News.
L-R Fulbright Fellow Michael Epstein, Founder and Executive Director of IMdev Yeama Thompson and President, Editors Guild Theo Harding
Michael is working with the Initiatives for Media Development and Media Matters for Women (MMW) to develop a training curriculum on Media Information Literacy. This program will facilitate critical thinking and Media Information literacy (MIL) skills for the Sierra Leonean public which will enable them to recognize fact-based reporting when presented with contradictory information. This will extend the reach of Salone FactChecker, a medium established in 2020 with funding from the US Embassy Sierra Leone to the rural and offline populations where the flow of fake news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and online environments with regularity and ease.
Whilst in Sierra Leone the fellow and the Initiatives for Media Development are working on increasing the effectiveness of Salone FactChecker (“SFC”) in advance of Sierra Leone’s June 2023 presidential election. In 2020, SFC was established by IMdev to build an information-savvy populace in Sierra Leone, produce reliable information, and discern the trustworthiness of news on social media. At the heart of this project are two objectives: 1) to increase capacity of SFC’s fact-checking operations and 2) to increase the reach of SFC’s fact-checked content to urban and, especially, rural populations, including those who are illiterate. With more effective fact checking, SFC will mitigate the negative impacts of fake news, including stories that may be laden with hate speech.
During his time in Sierra Leone, Fulbright Fellow Epstein will also roll out workshops for journalists, students , social media influencers, the public and government strategic communications team to support the much-needed societal resilience on Fact-Checking in the Fight Against Fake News and Disinformation in Sierra Leone.

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