Opening Session Of The Hackathon On Combating Disinformation And FakeNews In Northern Nigeria

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Opening Statement of the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-WestAfrica) at the Opening Session of the Hackathon on Combating Disinformation and FakeNews in Northern Nigeria

Combating Disinformation And FakeNews In Northern Nigeria

The partners, CDD staff, judges and mentors, participants of this hackathon and the media, goodafternoon.

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the opening session of the hackathon Centre for Democracy and Development is organizing on combating disinformation and fake news inNorthern Nigeria.

I am glad that after a tasking planning, CDD together with it’s partners – Bridge4Innovation, Curator 100 Women in Tech Nigeria and Hackathon International are havingthe first virtual hackathon on combating disinformation and fake news in Northern Nigeria.

I would like to thank my entire staff and the partners for their dedication towards this initiative. Background of CDD’s Work around Disinformation and Fake News in NigeriaIn recent times, fake news and disinformation around politics, governance, elections and conflictin Nigeria have become common.

Their commonality is not only threat to our democratic valuesand existence, they also pose serious challenge to the mutual and peaceful coexistence of diverseNigerians.

That is clearly a challenge that we, as civil society organization with mandate of safeguarding and promoting democratic culture, values and existence believed must doeverything possible to avert.

Continuously population of Nigerians on different social media platforms is increasing by theday, while that is a welcome development for reasons such as political discussion, expression ofopinions, accountability, prompt sharing and exchange of information, etc , it also portendscertain experiences or incidences that require robustful interventions to make the online spacesafe and peaceful.

Disinformation and fake news surely have repercussions on societal peace andprogress. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) became concerned about the risingdisinformation and fake news incidences not only on social media platforms, or blogspots, but inthe mainstream media, and that is the reason it is deploying multiple tools on combating disinformation and fake news in Nigeria, today’s hackathon is one of them.

For the past two years, CDD has been making efforts to combat disinformation and fake news inNigeria and recently in Northern Nigeria through fact checking, weekly radio programme, jingleson radio station, social influencers on social media and continuous online campaign, use ofnative songs to enlighten the populace, etc.

The Hackathon The hackathon which we are kick starting today is born out of CDD’s desire to generate concreteand realistic ideas or solutions that will help combat disinformation and fake news particularly inNorthern Nigeria. We believed opening up for ideas and solutions to emerge from variety ofpeople is a good strategy to address fake news, that is the reason we announced call forapplication to the hackathon months back and received in total, two hundred (2000) applicationsfrom numerous individuals wanting to showcase their ideas at the hackathon and after review weshortlisted fifty (50) young men and women from Northern Nigeria.

Out of these twenty (20)participants, three (3) best ideas or solutions will be selected by team of expert judges over thenext three (3) days of brainstorming sessions. Prizes have been reserved for the best three (3)ideas that will emerge.

The prizes include winning 1000 dollars, opportunity to participate in theregional hackathon as well as fellowship. From our experience of combating disinformation over the years, we have realized there areareas where disinformation and fake news are most common and we have restricted the solutionsto come from those areas.

The areas are: Fake News, Disinformation and Insecurity, Fake News, Disinformation and Pandemic, Fake News, Disinformation and Elections, Fake News, Disinformation and Governance We have earlier planned to hold the hackathon in-person, but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

we resolved to making it virtual. We hope by the end of the hackathon we will be able togenerate solutions that will support our intervention of combating fake news and disinformationin Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large.

I want to conclude by thanking all of you here for finding the time to join this opening session ofthe hackathon and wish all the participants well as they showcase their ideas and solutions tocombating fake news and disinformation in Northern Nigeria.

CDD will remain focused anddetermined in it’s pursuit of seeing society where fake news and disinformation aren’tconstructed, shared or promoted.

Thank you all,Idayat Hassan,Director,Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) www.cddwestafrica.org.

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