Inform Africa and UNESCO, in partnership with the Australian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Community Radio Broadcasters Association, and the Ethiopian Media Authority, launched a six-month community radio programme.
The programme, which sought to strengthen the capacity of community radio in peacebuilding and combating hate speech and disinformation, was launched on March 21, 2023, in Adama, Oromia.
As part of the programme, HaqCheck, one of the pioneer fact-checking organisations in Ethiopia, gave a two-days capacity-building training to 28 community radio journalists on countering disinformation and hate speech.
The training was intended to equip community radio journalists with basic fact-checking skills that can be applied in their day-to-day journalistic activities. The training was also aimed at enabling community radio journalists to produce fact-checking stories in a radio format.
The six-month community radio program will empower community radio across the country to play a reconciliatory and constructive role in the socio-political lives of society through independent and factual reporting.
Hate speech and disinformation have surfaced in the Ethiopian mainstream and social media landscapes, particularly during the two-year armed conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Disinformation has fueled inter-communal tensions and violence throughout the country. People were killed due to false information disseminated mainly across social media platforms.
Thus, HaqCheck, which is Inform Africa’s fact-checking initiative, and UNESCO, in partnership with community radio stations in Ethiopia, will produce and broadcast a series of radio programmes aimed at educating the public about peacebuilding through countering hate speech and false information dissemination.
During the three-day training, UNESCO prepared editorial and gender guidelines to be used by the community radio stations.
Community radio stations are defined as forms of social communication that provide current news and information for a specific local area. Community radios have a significant role in promoting democracy, peace, and good governance by informing and educating citizens.
HaqCheck recommends that community radio stations across the country be provided with considerable support because they can serve as the eyes and ears of the local people.