Elections anti-disinformation project shifts focus to educating communities

The campaign is geared towards educating and informing South Africans on how to spot disinformation campaigns, the importance of fact-checking.

FILE: The project will be rolled out on social media, national, provincial and community media.Picture: Pexels.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Anti-Disinformation Project, a collaborative initiative to combat anti and misinformation amid the upcoming local government elections, on Tuesday kicked off its campaign into the next gear with the aim of educating communities on the ground.

The campaign is geared towards educating and informing South Africans on how to spot disinformation campaigns, the importance of fact-checking and techniques used in the past to disrupt and manipulate political discourse.

The project will be rolled out on social media, national, provincial and community media.

Focus will be placed on community media as a platform to reach rural communities that do not have the same access to information as more urban South Africans. The content will also be translated in all of South Africa’s 11 languages.

“The education phase is aimed at grassroots movements and communities, and we will be reaching into our pool for community media, community broadcasters, and community activists to ensure that communities - as voters themselves and rights-bearing members of society - have access to education around disinformation,” said Communications Rights Activist, Lazola Kati, who is also part of the project.

“Unfortunately, we can no longer believe everything we see online. But at the same time, we cannot afford to disbelieve everything because we cannot perpetually live in a state of distrust,” added Adebayo Okeowo, African Program Manager for WITNESS.

“Citizens must therefore develop the skills to decipher between what is true and what is not. We hope to assist with that through our media literacy campaign. The truth has got to mean something!”

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