PRNigeria Reporter wins Best Fact-Checker in Kwame Karikari Fellowship



PRNigeria Reporter, Mohammad Dahiru Lawal, has won the best fact-checker for the month of June 2021 in the ongoing Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking and Research Fellowship at Dubawa, Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).

He won the award alongside Kaduna Daily Trust Bureau Chief, Lami Sadiq, with his winning entry being an extensive research and Fact Check on the ‘Google vs Crowwe App’ debacle which was able to debunk reports circulating in the media that the app was removed from Google’s PlayStore due to poor reviews.

In an email announcing the winners, the Editor, Mr Kemi Busari stated that various entries for the award were received from fact-checkers on the programme with about four living up to the billing each scoring at least 68%.

“We had a very difficult tie to break and in the end, decided to award two joint winners,” he explained announcing that the winning entries are “Fact-Check: Google Did Not Delete Crowwe Due to Bad Reviews or Complaints” written by Mohammed Lawal and “2016 video recirculated to depict Nigerian Army killed dozens of bandits in Kebbi” by Lami Sadiq and both had a total score of 73 per cent to edge the second-placed copy by three per cent and fourth by five.

He revealed that key elements in the winning entries include, “extensive use of hyperlinks, human/multiple sourcing, clear writing style and structure.”

Since June when the fellowship commenced, Mr Dahiru’s fact checks, most of which can be read on PRNigeria’s fact-checking page, has in the past three months extensively debunked misinformation in the security especially on the Nigerian Army, Navy and Department of State Service (DSS). Other areas of his coverage include technology, economy, religion and inter-ethnic relations to mention a few.

He was also the lead team who unravelled 101 fake news during the EndSARS protest last year.

In his remarks, Dahiru expressed optimism that fact-checking entrenched in newsrooms and inculcated in Journalism practice will go a long way in restoring the dignity of information business.

“The establishment of News Desks in our various news organizations should be at the central core of this idea. I particularly look forward to an era of newsrooms with Fact-Checking Desks and PRNigeria is taking that lead already,” he expressed.

Reacting to the award, the Editor in Chief, PRNigeria, Mr Yushau Shuaib said it did not come as a surprise as PRNigeria’s mother body, Image Merchant Promotions Limited is equipped with dedicated and expert staff.

“Based on this, you will notice that fact-checking specialisation in our newsroom is taking a promising dimension as PRNigeria will continue to be at the forefront in the fight against misinformation, disinformation and fake news,” Shuaib said.

Throughout the duration of the 2021 cohort of the fellowship which ends in November, each month, one ‘Fact-check of the Month’ award will be named with a token prize to the winner to motivate and strengthen “fact-checkers to do more,” Mr Busari had said.

The Programme by renowned Fact-Checking and verification platform, Dubawa, under the aegis of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), aims to tackle misinformation and hold political elites accountable for their words and actions while expanding the reach of verified information to grassroots communities.

Recall that Mr Dahiru who is currently the managing editor and convener of Arewa Agenda for Sustainable Development, Secretary, Nigerian Journalists for Climate Action Network (NIJOCAN), Coordinator Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) and Reporting Fellow the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) was overall Campus Journalist of the year 2020.

Dahiru who also bagged the best features writer award (print) emerged in a highly competitive process with contenders from the University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, University of Ilorin, the University of Nigeria Nsukka among other higher institutions across the country to clinch the much-coveted campus journalism Award.

By PRNigeria