Media training to combat hate and develop critical thinking

Media training to combat hate and develop critical thinking

April 4, 2023

Launch of an initiative in Cameroon in early March aimed at providing young people with media and information training to combat misinformation and hate speech on social media and to protect young people from the spread of these harmful messages.

Social media the world over is plagued by false information and hate speech spread by journalists with a lack of respect for ethical rules and morals or by internet users acting out of ignorance, malice or for their own personal gain, and Cameroon is no exception to this. Mindful of the harmful consequences that such practices can have on society, CFI and the Cameroonian civil society organisation, Fondation Conseil Jeunes (FCJ), have created an initiative to provide thirty young people from three regions (North-West, South-West and the Far North), who are living in a highly sensitive political environment, with media and information training. The aim is to train these young people to act as watchdogs for misinformation and hate speech on social networks.

Media and information training, a "key national issue"

The campaign began with training for six people from Cameroonian civil society organisations, who will subsequently be tasked with providing ten or so young people from their region with media and information training. Provided by Blaise Pascal Andzongo, President of the Eduk-Media association, this training equipped them with the skills they needed to successfully run media and information training workshops.
Pierre Landry Belinga, a member of the FCJ who attended the course believes that media and information training is "a key national issue if we are to resolve conflicts within the country and in particular protect young people from the spread of hate speech and misinformation. It is crucial that we extend this type of training to as many people as possible".

Arouna Pountougnigni, a member of the Mon Univers Digital association, stated that the training had "taught [him] new skills, particularly in the art of storytelling, and in planning and performing a mannequin challenge". Four of the six people trained were from English-speaking regions and were able to follow the training, which was delivered in French, thanks to an appropriate translation system. "I liked that the translation was provided in real time. The trainer was very friendly and patient with the trainees," enthused Nicholine Awumbom Musi, a member of the Mike Yanou Fondation.

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