Somali Journalists Prepare to Sniff Out What’s Real or Fake Ahead of Polls

The Federation of Somali Journalists has launched a campaign to combat the spread of false information, fake news, hate speech and propaganda. The federation says Somalia is already seeing a huge spike in social media misinformation campaigns ahead of elections expected before the end of July. The country’s chronic internal conflict and political instability has made Somalia a fertile ground for the spread of misinformation. The growing number of young Somalis who connect and share news on social media platforms has become a prime target for this tide of fake news. To curb the growing challenge for media workers in the country, the Federation of Somali Journalists has launched what it calls a Disinformation Lab to combat the spread of lies, myths and distortions ahead of upcoming elections. The lead researcher and director of the lab, Mohamed Abdimalik, says they will give journalists the necessary skills and knowledge to detect fake news during polls. “The lab’s researchers will support journalists with digital tools, training and other resources to detect, analyze and flag false election-related news in real-time fashion,” Abdimalik said. “In a fragile environment where trust is so low, safeguarding the election process from fake news is as crucial as saving the country from descending into civil war again.”


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