Greenwashing at COP27, data gaps in Nigeria and threats to press freedom in India
Also, the ongoing fight to free Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, big tech's failure to fight disinformation, and a farewell to Umra Khan of Chambal Media, india's first rural media network
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This week, we are watching the developments following Sunday’s presidential elections in Brazil. There are concerns that the outgoing president Jair Bolsonaro could complicate the two-month transition period before Lula (full name Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva), a former president and now president-elect, is sworn in on 1 January 2023.
In this issue of the Checklist we also bring you updates from all around the world, including reports on unlawful imprisonment, mistreatment, and torture of Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah and police raids the arbitrary search of independent newsroom The Wire’s office and its editors’ homes in India, a report looking into big tech firms’ continued failure to contain hate speech and misinformation, and how gaps in available data in Nigeria are contributing to the spread of false information in the country.
This week we also highlight the work of Check Global in the North Africa Western Asia (NAWA) region with journalism students. Students from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt and Sudan took part in this year’s program. The training included advanced lessons on the media landscape, misinformation, open source investigations, verification tools, media trends and new technologies.
Also, take a look at the Townsquare section where we share opportunities and events.
If there are updates you would like us to share from your country or region, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Check Global Spotlight: NAWA Newsroom Journalism students explore disinformation, open source verification tools and media monitoring
Six years after its launch, the NAWA Newsroom continues to provide journalism students with tools and context to commit to quality journalism. Students from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt and Sudan took part in this year’s program. The training included advanced lessons on the media landscape, misinformation, open source investigations, verification tools, media trends and new technologies. Here’s what students have to say about this year’s program:
Souad, Undergraduate journalism student from Yemen: “The core of this training experience was learning about the online search and verification tools. This was exciting for me as it made me more interested in working in investigative journalism after I graduate from the journalism school”.
Mohamad, Undergraduate journalism student from Yemen: Ultimately, the students hope to bring positive change in their local communities by bringing back trust in media journalism. “The best way to achieve this goal is by creating trusted, verified content, and investigative reporting that would uncover corruption.”
The Check Global Report
By Meedan’s Check Global team in Beirut, Belo Horizonte, Kochi, Bhimtal, and Nairobi
Egypt's COP27 Climate Change Conference organisers has hired a public relations firm accused of spreading historic "disinformation" for the tobacco and fossil fuel industries.
"Bankrolling by one of the world’s largest polluters. Spin doctors for the tobacco, chemical, and oil industry doing the conference’s PR. Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists flooding the conference center." — Rachel Rose Jackson, Director of Corporate Accountability
Nigeria’s Data Gap Worsens Misinformation (Inkstick)
A lack of credible data is hindering development in Nigeria, where a lack of proper data is keeping many African journalists from getting their stories published. This in turn has led to a feedback loop, as these stories are an important source of data in themselves, and researchers and analysts struggle to compile reports without the proper reporting to back it up.
“We need to create a better information ecosystem, a datable system where more people are willing to give us the little data they have. So if they are willing to give out that little data then they will be willing to collect more. So let’s start with the system working,At least if the ecosystem is working, then the ecosystem can grow” — Olatunji Olaigbe, Nigerian freelance tech journalist
US-based media reforms advocacy group Free Press found that efforts against disinformation by four major social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok in 2022 were “weak” and “full of empty promises.”
“What happens on social media can have a powerful influence on the offline world. Major social-media companies that have a responsibility to address the spread of toxic content have instead exhibited reckless disregard for measures needed to curb hate, disinformation and extremism on their networks”. — Change the Terms
Hours after the police searched The Wire’s office and its editors’ homes in Delhi and Mumbai, the Digipub News India Foundation said the “arbitrary” action, based on a private complaint of defamation, “smacks of mala fide intentions”. It pointed out that the danger of these searches “being used as an excuse” to seize and duplicate confidential and sensitive data “cannot be dismissed”.
“A journalist or a media organisation that publishes a false report ought to be held accountable by its peers and civil society. But for the police to carry out an immediate and arbitrary search of the media house’s office and its editors’ homes, based entirely on a private complaint of defamation filed by a spokesperson of the ruling party, smacks of mala fide intentions”. — Digipub's statement on police searches on the homes of the editors and a reporter of The Wire
#Free Alaa (Access Now)
On April 2, 2022, and after years of unlawful imprisonment, mistreatment, and torture, Egyptian activist, blogger, and software developer Alaa Abd El-Fattah shaved his head and started a hunger strike on the first day of Ramadan. A few days later, on April 11, Alaa’s family announced that he had become a British citizen through his mother. Four months into the hunger strike, the life and fate of Alaa are at stake. His health is rapidly and significantly deteriorating and he faces the risk of death unless the United Kingdom Foreign Office immediately intervenes for his protection and acts now to save his life. A central figure in technology and political activism in his country since the early 2000s, and a global voice during the Arab uprisings in the early 2010s, Egyptian authorities have attempted to silence Alaa through unlawful imprisonment for most of the last decade.
#FreeAlaa. Take action! Write to your MP and call for his release.
Rest in Power, Umra (The Third Eye)
On the night of 30th October, Umra Khan, a team member of Chambal Media, India’s first rural media network, passed away in a fatal car accident. The team and those who worked with her have still not come to terms with her passing and the gaping void she has left behind. The Third Eye team remembers Umra and her contributions in this tribute.
Umra nurtured a community of listeners, companions, feminists, and friends wherever she went. Umra introduced young girls and women, some of them who looked up to her with stars in their eyes, the possibilities of alternate ways of doing and dreaming. She would not shy away from opening up and sharing long-cultivated secrets and strategies with young women, on the brink of starting new lives, on how to navigate family, society and unfamiliar cities.
Meedan and National Democratic Institute release recommendations for ending online violence against women in politics
Ahead of World Internet Day on October 29th, Meedan and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) released today a new report entitled “Interventions to End Online Violence Against Women in Politics.”
The report details a list of 26 interventions that technology platforms, governments, civil society organizations and the media can take to make meaningful progress towards ending online violence against women in politics.
“Meedan’s work on building infrastructure to help journalists and platforms respond to violence and political events at scale has made it clear how critical the online safety of women is for creating greater equity in politics. This report sets up a pathway to reduce the spread of violent content against women in politics globally.”– Kat Lo, Program Manager and Content Moderation Lead, Meedan
EarthCheck - India’s Climate Change Data Journalism, Visualization and Verification Workshops: Inviting journalists and media fraternity to attend a 2‑day certificate course on India’s Climate Change. The workshops aim to provide journalists with the basic tools and skill-sets to report on climate change, thereby encouraging climate change journalism.You can register here.
Kiplinger Fellowship: The 2022 fellowship will be held on Ohio University's Athens campus April 18-22 and focus on covering climate change. Professional speakers who represent some of the top leaders in journalism and climate sciences will address the 19 fellows. You can find more information here.
Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Media (2023): This competitive program has transformed the careers of more than 500 people in news media and tech. It is designed for women and nonbinary journalists who directly manage people and are within their first five years of formal leadership experience.
What else we’re reading
In this report, experienced researchers offer insights ranging from methods to data collection to team development. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
This piece looks at how disinformation and online abuse hinder women of color political candidates in the United States (Center for Democracy & Technology)
Tune into this podcast from NYT that looks at the fate of democracy in Brazil. (The New York Times)
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