Covid-19 and Fake News: Experiences from Senegal

A Session Hosted by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
COvid-19 and Fake News SENEGAL

As anywhere else the COVID-19 pandemic also led to a huge amount of fake news that is being spread in the web in West-Africa. People are being confronted not only with misinformation but the most appalling inventions about the disease itself, about its origins, about potential treatments, and about government responses. The FNF Senegal web talk had an objective to analyse the origins and potential threats of the fake news, also to elaborate on measures taken by social media platforms and news agencies to mitigate the corresponding risks. The key question from a liberal perspective is, how the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press could be maintained through rigorous censuring of false information. 

For about 90 minutes journalists, experts from digital platforms (Facebook) as well as fact checking agencies elaborated on the phenomena of fake news in the regional context. They looked into the nature of fake news and its intent. They highlighted the critical understanding of the digital environment that is needed today to identify the sources that can be trusted.

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These short exposés were followed by a time for question and answers. The FNF web talk received a great reception and registered more than 600 followers. The findings were compiled and distributed to the interested via the FNF social media platforms.  

The event was hosted in partnership with the Africa Liberal Network and facilitated by lawyer, digital transformation expert & special advisor to the Presidency of the Republic of Senegal, Ousmane Thiongane. The panelists were, journalist, consultant and trainer in new media, Ms Nesmon de Laure from Côte d’Ivoire, Facebook public policy manager in London, Ms Aïda Ndiaye, Senegalese journalist-blogger, Mr Ibrahima Lissa Faye and journalist and writer in Chief of AfricaCheck, Senegal, Mr Samba Dialimpa Badji.