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HomeINTERNATIONAL NEWSTimbuktu Institute & Meta Discuss Ways Of Combating Misinformation In The Sahel

Timbuktu Institute & Meta Discuss Ways Of Combating Misinformation In The Sahel

The phenomenon of misinformation is becoming increasingly widespread, particularly in the Sahel region, which is plagued by permanent insecurity. The stakes of this misinformation are just as numerous and diverse, and this is one of the main reasons why the “Timbuktu Institute”, with the support of Méta, has set up a debate to reflect on the challenges of social cohesion and democracy in the Sahel.

A forum in which experts, researchers and journalists took part to give their opinions and proposals on the solutions to be advocated to combat the scourge. Abdourahmane Dicko, prominent university teacher and researcher, spoke on the subject of social networks and the prevention of inter-community conflict in the Sahel, noted that misinformation in the media and social networks is not only the result of the failure of our States, but also of young people’s obsession with achieving a better life.

Mr. Dicko went on to say that this misinformation is “one of the causes of these coups d’état”, in many States in West Africa especial the Sahel region.He however specifically give a vivid example in Niger where misinformation and fake news resulted to the army toppling the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum.
“COUPS D’ETAT ARE GENERALLY FUELED BY RUMOURS”,he reminded audience in a video conference.

Ignace Sossou, fast-checking investigative journalist, reminds participants of the role of journalists.

He opined that journalists who make the mistake of getting their information from social networks expose themselves to permanent disinformation. Media professionals need to be responsible in their use of social networks, and know how to observe the rules of ethics and deontology.

He further added that the other aspect of the fight against this phenomenon is the involvement of the authorities to ensure efficient control of the public media space.

The Regional Director of the Timbuktu Institute points out that misinformation is characterized by its complexity, linked to the multiplicity of transmitters, notably influencers, the media, but also the role of States.

“It’s a permanent danger, and we need to take all the necessary measures to combat it. The Sahel region has become a place of international competition and geostrategic struggle. There’s a tough battle to control opinion in the Sahel region”,Dr Sambe confided.

During the question and answer session participants at the forum suggested the democratizing fact-checking tools in social networks and teaching young the minimum tools to detect signs of disinformation.

By Alpha Jallow in Dakar

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