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Media literacy helps voters make informed choices during elections

Africa Check, with the support from the United Nations Democracy Fund, is working to help Africans critically interrogate the information they engage with.

Around the world, voters during election season have to contend with an influx of information, both accurate and inaccurate.

During what can be volatile times, they have to navigate this flood and make informed decisions. 

As fact-checkers, we see an uptick of misinformation ahead of elections, especially on social media. Political parties often use social media because of its reach and, in the push to present themselves favourably to voters, spread misinformation themselves. This makes it even more challenging for voters to make the best choices.

While the quality and accuracy of information shared on social media is concerning, fact-checkers also need to address the core issue of empowering citizens with the necessary skills to engage critically with the information they encounter.

Africa Check, with the support from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), provided Kenyan citizens with election-based media literacy skills to better identify misinformation, ahead of the country’s elections on 9 August 2022.

This project enabled individuals to participate in the conversations around the election. The aim was to promote civic engagement and evidence-based decision-making during elections.

After a decade of fact-checking, tackling misinformation and providing media literacy training, we were able to give Kenyan citizens a set of questions they could ask themselves when they came across questionable information:

Who wrote it?

Before forwarding information, check who wrote and shared the information. If it is not from an official or verified publication, it may be false.

Can I verify the claims?

If there are no trustworthy sources to validate the information, it may be false.

Does the information evoke any emotion?

False information is often communicated in a manner which evokes strong emotions, such as anger or happiness.

Does the information include visuals or audio?

False information may be accompanied by visuals or audio that have been manipulated to support the claims made.

Am I sure this is not a hoax?

If information is not shared on other media platforms, it may be false.

Africa Check will also roll out similar initiatives ahead of the Nigerian elections in 2023 and South African elections in 2024.

Below: Photos of Africa Check media-literacy work in Kenya

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