Liberia: Local Voices Liberia Signs Partnership with Okay Fm to Promote Elections Fact Checking

Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, Executive Director of Local Voices Liberia, left, OK FM Manager, Clarence Jackson, middle, and Acting President of the Press Union of Liberia, Daniel Nyakonah, right

MONROVIA- Local Voices Liberia and OK FM, a local radio station in Monrovia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance collaboration in fact-checking and verification as Liberia prepares for the legislative and presidential elections.

The collaboration seeks to expand the culture of fact-checking through the production of a special radio segment on Okay FM’s two prime-time radio programs – the Oaky Morning Rush and the Okay Conversation.

As part of the MOU, Local Voices Liberia will also conduct live fact-checking, and verification of statements/claims made by radio guests during the Okay Morning Rush and Okay Conversation and conduct in-house fact-checking training/tips for Okay Fm reporters to enhance their fact-checking skills.

For its part, Okay FM will air all fact-check segments produced by Local Voices Liberia during the two major shows.

Signing on behalf of his institution, Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, Executive Director of Local Voices Liberia, expressed joy over the forging of the partnership which he said will help limit the spread of disinformation before, during, and after the October 10 elections.

Senkpeni noted that the partnership will boost the fight against disinformation and avert the use of disinformation to spark election violence.

“When we provide these fact-check reports, this will help to curb the spread of disinformation because we know disinformation is always frequent during elections and we know that disinformation can lead to election violence,” he said.

“We know that if we provide accurate information or verified information to the public it will help inform the public about basic public discussions and inform their decisions. That’s why fact checking is important, and this partnership will help debunk disinformation and provide accurate information for the public”.

Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, Executive Director of Local Voices Liberia, left, and OK FM Manager, Clarence Jackson, right

Senkpeni also lauded the support of LVL international partners that are providing funding for the fact-checking desk. He stressed the support of the USAID Media Activity which is being implemented by Internews and the UNDP for its support through the Liberia Electoral Support Program (LESP) under the iVerify System.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony was OK FM Manager, Clarence Jackson, who later signed on behalf of the station, said the partnership will provide an opportunity for the verification of statements during live interviews and help people make informed decisions, adding that fact-checking will keep purveyors of disinformation in check.

“We see this as a privilege because for us truth telling is fundamental and that’s the reason why these kinds of partnerships are important as our country is going to elections. There are lots of propogandists spilling lots of disinformation over the place. So, this will ensure that when someone comes on the radio, they will be aware that people are watching them and then they will be careful with what they say, “said Mr. Jackson.

“It is important to ensure a non-violent election and lot of people do not know that disinformation can result to violence because when you say things that are not true, when you give wrong statistics, sometimes the interpretation will be different.”

He called on other media institutions to engage LVL and other fact-checking organizations for a partnership that seeks to minimize the spread of misinformation and disinformation especially as Liberia goes to the election.

Witnessing the signing was the Acting President of the Press Union of Liberia, Daniel Nyakonah who described the MOU as a “good initiative” that will help enhance the quality of journalism for the good of the public including averting elections violence that may be caused by disinformation.

Local Voices Liberia is a network of Liberian journalists established in 2015. The network came to be to counter the spread of dis/misinformation during the Ebola pandemic and encourage responsible health journalism. Since then, LVL is engaged with training reporters and development reporting (health and human rights, etc.) and independent fact-checking. LVL Fact Checking Desk counters and debunks dis/misinformation and hate speech and expand the culture of fact-checking through media literacy.

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