THE DEEP DIVE 7TH EDITION
Shouting out your friendly neighborhood fact-checkers
By now, it is fairly clear how important it is to check your sources. Every news event, every happening of some significance attracts its fair share of misinformation and flat out fake news. The task of keeping your head above the water may be difficult, but thankfully, there is a growing cohort of journalists for whom fact-checks in the digital age are now second nature. Both globally and at home, these journalists are doing the important work of sifting through news articles, deep fake photos and manipulated audio to tell you what’s fact and what isn't. The work may be taxing, and the products of this work may not make for exciting reading all the time, but in a climate where the power to undermine trust and deliberately mislead is both in the hands of the powerful and the people, it will be these journalists that we will turn to for sense-making. This edition of our newsletter belongs to (a few) of them. Young journalists from across Kenya who have done stellar work in bringing much needed clarity to the often foggy subject of COVID-19. Take a look, share their work and follow them. Paying it forward to the next person who could fall prey to misinformation is a kindness we all can afford. In this edition, we also share the conversation from our third edition of "Join The Newsroom", which was an illuminating conversation about data safety. We learnt, among other things, that making a Data subject request in Kenya could cost you 1400$, or over 140000 KES! Read on for the full conversation.
Linda Ngari- Fact Checker at Africa Uncensored
Before you go,
August will be a fairly busy month for Africa Uncensored. We're launching a series of thought provoking articles, as well as three new documentaries and a slew of stories produced by our Investigate 101 mentees. As such, we'd like to invite you to be our first audience to watch and read this content before everyone else. If you know a friend who could do with some strong investigative and in-depth work, ask them to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on our socials. Enjoy this edition!
JOIN THE NEWSROOM
Discussing Data privacy in Kenya and its discontents
The latest edition of our monthly conversation, "Join the Newsroom" was filled with fact after fact about data privacy in Kenya. We started with Africa Uncensored Web Editor Emmanuel Chenze's revealing look back at how he discovered that Kenyans were being registered to political parties without their consent, via the E-Citizen platform. Then data scientist Felix Atandi walked us through Kenya's data laws, with information that every Kenyan should know about. Listen to that conversation and let us know what you'd like for us to discuss next; you can share in the comments section below or reach out on any of our platforms.
Fact Check: This week the web was awash with UN-related claims
In the past week, Piga Firimbi lie detectors were at it again. Some of the fact-checks the team looked into included false claims purporting to have come from the UN; one citing a fake demography report that professes a global population of 2.2 billion men over 5.6 billion women. This report further warned women to "be careful" when showing disinterest in male suitors because of their alleged scarcity. In case you're wondering, no. The actual global male to female population is almost equal. In fact, there are more men than women in the world. Read this fact-check here. The other UN-related claim would send out a false alarm on the trafficking of human organs in the Middle East. The team also came across a newspaper publication with fake news indicating that the UN withdrew former UNCTAD secretary-general, Mukhisa Kituyi's diplomatic rights. Find this fact-check here.
Linda Ngari- Fact Checker at Africa Uncensored
COVID-19 Vaccine: A Question of Fertility
As part of a program to train journalists on the best practices of debunking false information, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) has been running a fellowship for 3 months now. A Fact Check to look into misinformation surrounding COVID-19 was produced by our fact checker and IWPR fellow Nyakerario Omari.
Since the roll-out of the COVID 19 vaccine, the question of whether or not it impacts fertility has stood out. With all honesty, these are genuine concerns but the line is drawn when this is twisted into misinformation. In this production, Nyakerario Omari looks at how the virus affects the quality of sperms in men and the discussion of how claims that the new vaccine technology used by both Pfizer and Moderna could affect fertility in women.
Nyakerario Omari- Africa Uncensored Fact Checker and ARN Trainee
Could Steam Therapy be the cure to COVID-19?
The 6 months ARN training was an invaluable opportunity. The program aimed at equipping journalists with skills in open source intelligence, research techniques, network analysis skills among other pertinent skills in journalism. In the wake of quick and easy access to information from all quarters via the internet and social media, telling factual from fictitious information is getting harder and harder. However, the bespoke training equipped participants with skills to debunk misinformation and disinformation surrounding Covid-19 and other impactful topics.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the matter of cures has been the raging debate. With pharmaceutical treatment either inaccessible or too expensive, and with myriads of advancement messages of non-pharmaceutical interventions online, many people resorted to traditional treatments for Covid-19. The internet became the doctor and steam inhalation as a prevalent prescription was at the Centre of the controversy. According to Dr. Wahome, a medical practitioner, she tried it and it worked for her. Yet, what is it about this method that is so alluring and what is it about the people who religiously promote it? Find out more here!
Calvin Rock- Intern at Africa Uncensored and ARN Trainee
Lamu Covid-19 Vaccination Hesitancy
It's sad seeing a population that is, actually, more vulnerable to the deadly Covid-19 infections buy into the misinformation and myths that have been flying around about coronavirus and the vaccines and consequently becoming hesitant on taking the shots.
The ARN training horned my skills in reporting on Covid-19 and helped me see and tackle the issue of Covid-19 related disinformation and misinformation from an investigative dimension, factors which are driving huge vaccination hesitancy in Lamu County, a coastal county that registered 0.1% ONLY of the total numbers announced at end of the first mass vaccination campaign in Kenya.
W.H.O lists vaccination hesitancy among the top ten threats to global health. It's, the vaccination apathy, more than a pandemic
Here is a story from Lamu County on how the Covid-19 related myths, misinformation and misconceptions are driving vaccination hesitancy and what the authorities are doing to get the populations inoculated.
Sam Abuya- Digital Editor at Africa Global News and ARN Trainee
COVID-19 Misinformation, 'a carefree attitude'
I am glad to have been part of the amazing journey with the Africa Resilience Network reporting project. The journalistic journey has been fulfilling by the fact that I got to be attached to a mentor who walked with me throughout the journey to the end. The reporting project touched on misinformation about Covid-19, Considering that my work is based in one of the informal settlements, Kibera, a lot of misinformation has been flying all over at a community level. This was indeed a timely project that gave me first-hand reporting experience to tell the community story better.
Thomas Bwire- Journalist at Habari Kibra and ARN Trainee
I was able to attend several community forums that gave me better insights on the real picture on the ground on misinformation matters about Covid-19. This incorporated with training sessions I attended through zoom also enhanced my story idea for the long piece. I interviewed different players from the community. One of the sources in my piece was a person who came face to face with Covid-19 after he was among the first people in Kibera to have been admitted to the hospital.
I am also grateful to the training sessions that strengthen my reporting skills and use of multiple tools to conduct research so that by the end of the day , I could produce a more well informed long piece article. Read Bwire’s article here!
Editorial Director: John-Allan Namu
Assignment Editor: Sam Munia
Social Media Manager: Cecilia Ashioya
Contributors: Linda Ngari, Nyakerario Omari, Sam Abuya, Calvin Rock and Thomas Bwire
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