WAMECA 2019 explores impact of social media, fake news on elections in Africa

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The third edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards, (WAMECA), an initiative of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) aimed at promoting media excellence in the West African sub-region, scheduled for October 18-19, 2019 in Accra, Ghana will explore the impact of social media and fake news in the conduct of elections in Africa.

“On October 18 -19, 2019, experts from across West Africa and beyond will gather in Accra, Ghana, for the third edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA). Journalists, media professionals, editors, academics, freedom of expression advocates, diplomats and the business community will deliberate on how Social Media and Fake News are impacting Elections in Africa,” says a recent statement by MFWA about the forthcoming event.

MFWA said the advent of the new media had tremendously improved access to media and information in Africa. “Indeed, in the last decade, the new media, especially social media, has significantly enhanced participatory democracy as many citizens contribute to national discourse and engage with state authorities/duty bearers on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

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However, the statement said social media had recently became a tool for spreading misinformation, disinformation, and perpetuating the phenomenon of fake news, especially during elections, leading to mistrust of the media as well as political tensions and disorder across Africa. Thus, WAMECA 2019 will explore critical issues around the impact of social media and fake news on elections in Africa and make key recommendations for media development and good governance.

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