News

UNESCO Supporting Countering Disinformation and Disinfodemic in Ethiopia

UNESCO supports Ethiopia to counter disinformation and the provision of reliable information to the public concerning most important public issues. The main area of support is strengthening the local fact checking capacities by empowering local institutions to fact check in local languages and share verified information to the media and citizen regularly. With financial support from the European Union (EU), under the project #CoronavirusFacts: Addressing the ‘Disinfodemic’ on Covid-19 in conflict-prone environments, the UNESCO support enabled regular information verification and access to the media and citizens in four major local languages of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is experiencing a flux of disinformation and hate speech mostly circulated by social media platforms in relation to the country’s major events and activities including ongoing conflict in the north and COVID 19. UNESCO’s support aims to help the country counter disinformation and disinfodemic through strengthening local capacities fact checking and citizens in media and information literacy.

In partnership with the Africa Check, UNESCO Addis provided capacity strengthening trainings and monitoring to the Ethiopian local fact checking institution – Haq Check- to enable them do an in depth monitoring and fact checking and strengthening their institutional capacity. This enabled the local fact checker- Haq Check- to do a regular fact check, provide analysis on the disinformation trends in Ethiopia weekly and monthly.

The local fact checker is regularly debunking and providing verified fact-checked reports directly for journalists and for the citizens through publishing it on different platforms including on the dedicated Information Hub- Ethio Info hub - developed for the same purpose. The fact checking institution is monitoring disinformation claims in four local languages (Amharic, Oromo, Tigrigna, Somali and Afar) and English, and debunks on average seven stories every month since June 2021. The reports are both shared to the media directly through email to journalists and published in four languages to citizens.

Journalists and citizen also received a weekly disinformation trend summary to raise awareness on the prevalence of disinformation on key topics of national interest. The weekly summary is also supported by media and information literacy tips shared that help empower citizen to be resilient towards disinformation and disinfodemic.

An in-depth analysis of the disinformation trend is also provided every month to further strengthen the media and information literacy of citizens and journalists to help them analyse the consequences of disinformation in the fight against COVID 19 and other issues such as conflicts and peace building.

Citizen and the media are also benefiting from the fact check through trainings and discussion where fact checkers are providing insights and data that help enhance the media and information literacy of competences. UNESCO trained 40 young Ethiopians in media and information literacy for peace building and human rights based on the current trends disinformation supplied by Haq check and other similar institutions in partnership with the Rotarct Ethiopia and UN human rights organization. 

For more: please contact the program specialist, Aderaw Genetu at ag.tassew@unesco.org