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Niger’s Fake News Ecosystem-CDD

Niger’s first private media entities emerged in the 1990s following the fall of the single-party and military era. However, the birth of private media did not lead to free and independent media. A bipolar media system quickly took shape, with public media tending to support the ruling party and private media siding with the opposition. This bipolarism continues today and Nigeriens’ trust in a particular media correlates strongly with their relation to their political allegiance, Radio is the most listened to, and is perceived to be, the most reliable source of information. Low literacy rates and the fact that most Nigeriens live in rural areas with no access to electricity can partially explain this. But with the growing internet access via a mobile phone connection, more and more Nigeriens are becoming social media users. Facebook and WhatsApp which allow users to record, share, and receive audio and video messages have become popular even amongst people who cannot write and read in French, the official language. While these social media platforms facilitate instantaneous communication and sharing of information, they have also become the privileged terrain for the dissemination of fake news. Such fake news is not just confined to the online realm but spreads through pre-existing word of mouth networks. Marketplaces, family gatherings, and les grins, which are popular youth hangout spots, are places where gossips and fake news circulate with the potential of reaching far more people who may not have access to social media.


By Publications

En Guinée, les fausses informations circulent sur toutes les plateformes d’information et aussi dans les espaces en ligne comme hors ligne. On note toutefois que les réseaux sociaux jouent un rôle d’amplificateurs des fausses informations qui sont propagées, de même que le bouche à oreille dans certaines circonstances. Les fausses informations sont plus perceptibles pendant les élections ou en périodes de crises, qu’elles soient socio-politiques ou sanitaires. C’est ainsi que lors de l’élection présidentielle en 2020, ou à l’occasion de l’épidémie Ebola et de la pandémie Covid-19, beaucoup de fausses informations ont été propagées, sciemment ou de façon involontaire, sur les différentes plateformes. Parmi les acteurs clés dans la propagation des fausses informations, on retrouve les acteurs politiques, dans la mesure où la désinformation est un outil de plus en plus utilisé dans les activités de propagandes politiques. Ensuite viennent les usagers des réseaux sociaux et les journalistes.


By Publications

This report explores Ghana’s fake news ecosystem examining key actors in the online and offline space and the origins of their authority; key online information platforms and the interaction between offline media and non-media structures that shape information flows and gender dynamics. Ten interviews were undertaken to augment secondary data gathered from online and offline news publications, academic research reports, current affairs programs on several media stations, and social media engagements. The key informants were purposively drawn from targeted institutions considering their role in the information ecosystem.

Young people, mostly college and high-school educated, constitute a significant percentage of the 31 million Ghanaians, about half of whom have some level of access to the internet. This figure is growing rapidly. This younger demographic increasingly relies on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter to interact with each other and to mobilize around topics of shared interest. It is this same purpose that has attracted political activists, commentators, and high-ranking officials, who increasingly see the online realm as a place where they can seek to shape and control narratives.


By Publications

According to 2021 figures from Statista, 51.4% of Nigerians are internet users; a figure that has increased by 8% between 2017 and 2021. By 2026, the percentage of the Nigerian population that will use the internet at least once a month is expected to reach 60%. WhatsApp and Facebook are the most common platforms Nigerians use to come online, but other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and before it was banned by the federal government, Twitter, also have significant and growing user bases. Telegram and Clubhouse have also seen rapid increases in the numbers of users in the last year. Clubhouse aligns well with oral traditions in Nigeria.

In some of the Clubhouse discussions monitored for this study, speakers referenced false dates misrepresented personalities and reinterpreted events in ways that could stoke further division.

But it is important to note that these social media platforms do not operate in silos. Conversations that take place on Clubhouse, may subsequently become a topic for debate on Twitter, with tweets then screenshotted and shared across WhatsApp and Facebook. The interconnected nature of online platforms is also reflected in the increasing overlap between online and offline sources of information. This happens through conventional media who pick up information online and share it with another audience.


By ECOWAS Fake News Reports, Publications

Guinea-Bissau has faced cyclical instability and insecurity for the last two decades.
These episodes of political breakdown have ranged in scale, from armed attempts to overthrow the president, to assassination plots, to countless extra-judicial imprisonments and beatings.

The country has become infamous for the fact that successive elected governments and heads of state have not been able to complete their mandates. To compound this bleak timeline, since 2003, it has been known as a “narco-state” due to the heavy involvement of state and military officials in the drug trade. But what is unique is that in Guinea-Bissau’s case, despite all the intra-elite fighting and violent struggles for power as well as the ineffective state is that “there are no outbreaks of large-scale violence across broader society”.

Furthermore, citizens are rarely directly targeted during those power struggles, as they are not co-opted in the violence, nor are they casualties. In fact, with the ongoing cyclical violence within its political elite, and very few prospects of economic growth and development, Guinean society had become politically disenfranchised and removed from conversations about politics. Yet, increased civic activism really began to take place in the more recent years following a long period of relative apathy by its population.


By Publications

A l’image de ce qui se passe dans plusieurs Àpays, les fausses informations prennent de l’ampleur dans l’espace public au Sénégal. Le phénomène en soi n’est pas nouveau, mais il est aujourd’hui accentué et vulgarisé avec l’avènement des réseaux sociaux et autres plateformes numériques.

Les acteurs responsables de la création et diffusion des fausses informations comprennent non seulement les acteurs politiques – vus comme faisant partie de ceux qui en diffusent le plus – mais également le secteur des médias et du journalisme, ainsi que les usagers même des réseaux sociaux. Les fausses informations circulent ensuite par voie de bouche-à-oreille, dans les grand-places, les marchés et autres lieux de rencontre. En outre, la possibilité que d’autres acteurs externes soient impliqués dans la propagation des fausses informations au Sénégal serait un risque majeur pour l’état de la démocratie sénégalaise, même si l’incidence d’une telle influence ne peut être avérée de manière définitive.


By Publications

This study, which draws on 16 key informant interviews with academics, journalists, lawyers, and social media users and an extensive review of relevant reports, documents, and social media posts, provides one of the first comprehensive overviews of the, increasingly digital, information eco-system in Cabo Verde.

Technology advancements and the emergence of social media have brought the issue of fake news or ‘informações falsas’ (fake information) as it is referred to by citizens of Cabo Verde, to the center of debates on communication and the dissemination of information. Overall, the consensus remains that although the frequency of online fake news is increasing, such information remains largely peripheral. The same analysis applies to newspapers which despite having a political slant are not widely read in the country.


By Publications

In January 2020 internet penetration in Sierra Leone was 25% and there were an estimated 700,000 active social media users, with Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp the most used applications. These new media platforms act as both sources and enablers of fake news. The internet has also influenced news gathering and content production in the sense that some media institutions now directly copy and paste content from the internet and other online media sources, bringing them into the traditional media realm.

This study offers an assessment of Sierra Leone’s fake news ecosystem drawing primarily on qualitative data. Fourteen key informant interviews were conducted with key actors, social media influencers, traditional media practitioners, government officials, fact-checkers, media monitors, civil society experts, and academics.
In addition, three focus group discussions were conducted in Freetown and Bo in June 2021 with social media users comprising youth, the elderly and women. A review of available literature and online searches of websites and social media further supplemented and contextualized the


By Fake News, Publications

This study aims to better understand key facets of the ecosystem of fake news in Mali. It argues that the deteriorated political context in the country has facilitated the proliferation of fake news. The Malian fake news ecosystem is also thriving in the traditional media which is dominated by the political and economic elite who sponsor narratives to serve their own ends. Four of the top five newspapers in circulation in Mali mid-2021 are privately owned by politicians.

#EndSARS and Beyond

By PublicationsNo Comments

2020 will be remembered as the year of #EndSARS, the series of explosive, youth-led protests against police brutality and impunity that caught the Nigerian government by surprise and eventually forced it to make some concessions to the protesters. Starting in the first week of October and continuing for the next several weeks, the protests erupted at the close of a difficult year in which an erratically implemented lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus had led to widespread frustration.


By PublicationsNo Comments

Since Nigeria returned to democratic Governance in 1999, it has completed seven election cycles. In all these
elections, women have been largely marginalized in the political space at all levels. According to the Inter-Parliamentary
Union 2019 rankings, Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of women’s s legislative representation in Africa. This paper will examine the historical progress, interventions made, and challenges faced by young women in politics in Nigeria’s 20 years of democracy. In doing so it aims to contribute to a broader review of women’s political representation in Nigeria.

NIGERIA’S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD An assessment of the last two decades

By PublicationsNo Comments

The struggles for human rights in Nigeria have been long, arduous, and continue to this day. Before establishing the current democratic government in 1999, Nigerians were subjected to sixteen years of oppressive military rule marked by scores of human rights violations. The Nigerian military not only governed with brute force but also institutionalized human rights violations into the Nigerian legal system through decrees.


By PublicationsNo Comments

Corruption in Nigeria is ubiquitous and takes in many forms: from massive contract fraud to petty bribery; from straight-up embezzlement to complicated money laundering schemes. Just six years after independence, the country experienced it’s first military coup that ousted the elected officials of the first republic. One notable justification for the 1966 coup d’etat by the military was the pervasive corruption of the first republic civilian leadership.


By PublicationsNo Comments

Fake News is increasingly becoming a dangerous weapon. Like other lethagic weapons used in causing serious afflictions, the weaponisation of falsehood –Misinformation and Disinformation, has proven a more dangerous means of creating unrest, conflict, and an outright war.

Putting this in context, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), as part of its regional campaign against Fake News and Misinformation and Disinformation in the West Africa Subregion, beamed its searchlight on Côte D’ivoire and its News Ecosystem.

The outcome of that research is the production of this highly illuminating Report, one of the components of OSIWA’s larger interventions on Tackling Fake News in West Africa.

Nigeria: Women and Electoral Politics in 2023 — Charting the Way Forward

Nigeria: Women and Electoral Politics in 2023 — Charting the Way Forward

By Publicaitons, Publication, PublicationsNo Comments

As Nigeria enters a new general election season — with political parties already conducting local congresses ahead of primaries next year— what prospects lie ahead for Nigerian women interested in seeking political leadership positions?

Women have remained a vastly underrepresented minority in the halls of political power throughout Nigerian history. Since the resumption of electoral democracy in 1999, public campaigns proposed legislative reforms, and internal measures within political parties have attempted to address the gaping gender imbalance. Yet assessments of the performance of female candidates in Nigeria’s most recent general elections revealed a
disturbing trend: women’s representation in elected and appointed office has not only failed to increase but appears to be in decline.



By Fact Checks, Publicaitons, Publication, PublicationsNo Comments

This study assesses the Nigerian Economy over the past two decades using the key economic plans of the various administrations. It focuses largely on comparing the projected and actual performance of the real, monetary, fiscal, and external sectors within the plans of each administration and their respective performance targets.

Our assessment of the Nigerian economy confirms a high dependence on oil for both foreign exchange earnings and public sector revenues across all tiers of government. While there was no attempt in this paper to assess the potential economic impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, a preliminary assessment from other sources (The Guardian, 2020) highlights the dangers of Nigeria relying on oil for its future growth and development. Our policy brief takes its direction and impetus from our findings and the economic challenges amplified by the emergence of COVID-19.

Nouveau numéro de West African Insight : Les médias en Afrique de l’Ouest

By PublicationsNo Comments

Ce numéro spécial s’intitule Media Matters In West Africa et explore les défis auxquels sont confrontés les médias dans la sous-région ouest-africaine, en proposant des recommandations sur la façon dont certains de ces défis peuvent être surmontés.


Mercy Abang ouvre ce numéro avec un article qui passe en revue les défis auxquels les publications médiatiques sont confrontées pour trouver un équilibre entre la nécessité d’un contrôle éditorial indépendant et le besoin de commercialisation et de génération de revenus. Avec Stears Business, Abang propose un nouveau modèle où la numérisation joue un rôle clé en tant que fonction commerciale essentielle.


Dans Crucial Communication : Indigenous Language Radio in Northern Ghana, Yahaya Masahudu souligne l’impact des programmes radiophoniques en langue indigène, en particulier dans la région du nord du Ghana où l’information et le développement sont apparemment liés à la radio indigène. L’article appelle à des investissements délibérés dans ce secteur critique.


Leanne de Bassompierre nous présente les initiatives prises par les journalistes en Sierra Leone pour séparer la réalité de la fiction, en soulignant le rôle important que chacun doit jouer pour contrer la prévalence croissante des fausses nouvelles dans le pays.


Cliquez ici pour télécharger ce numéro!

Women’s Political Representation: A review of frameworks and quotas in West Africa

By PublicationsNo Comments

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) pursues the promotion of good governance, peace and security and free, fair and credible elections in member states through a combination of direct involvement and diplomacy. The Commission, with a mandate derived from the ECOWAS Treaty, has developed legal frameworks such as the Protocol Relating to the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution, Peacekeeping and Security (1999), and the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) to guide its interventions. In line with its legal instruments the Commission has deployed institutional organs such as ECOWAS StandbyForce (ESF), Early Warning System, the Mediation and Security Council, Offices of the Special Representative, the Council of the Wise (CoW) and Special Mediators to successfully prevent and resolve conflicts in the region. ECOWAS has successfully intervened in civil wars and political crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Guinea, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

These interventions represent some of the concrete examples of ECOWAS’ ability to apply legal and institutional frameworks to promote peace and security in the region. However, it is also true that often these successes have been
marred by incidences of human rights violation including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Generally, women are still at the margins of the political, economic and social development agenda, and continue to face
enormous challenges in exercising and fulfilling their fundamental human rights in peace and conflict situations. The 1979 ECOWAS Revised Treaty adopted by member states, specifically Article 63 on Women and Development, directs the ECOWAS Commission to formulate, harmonize, coordinate and to establish appropriate policies and mechanisms for the enhancement of the economic, social and cultural rights of women in West Africa. This has
driven decisions to transform the West African Women Association (WAWA) into the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre, to set up an ECOWAS Technical Commission on gender and to adopt the ECOWAS Gender Policy in 2005. All were intended to provide the legal, institutional and policy frameworks to engender the regional integration agenda.

This report explores the regions’ progress towards addressing gender inequality by focusing on the analysis of women’s representation in the political space in West Africa. It highlights examples of positive
affirmative action measures that have advanced women’s political representation. The report also identifies some of the barriers in the electoral processes that are impediments to women exercising and enjoying their electoral
rights. It concludes with practical suggestions on ways to bridge the gap. The analysis draws from the findings of a series of gender and election workshops held with over 300 participants (85% women) in nine ECOWAS
member states -Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Nigeria, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali and Gambia – from 2015 to date, as well as the Report of Assessment on Gender Mainstreaming in Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) in Electoral Processes in West Africa (2019) prepared by the ECOWAS Electoral Assistance Division, the Directorate of Gender of the ECOWAS Commission, and the Secretariat of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC).

Author: Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe

Click here to download the full report

UNE INFLUENCE CROISSANTE: La Chine en Afrique de L'ouest

By Publicaitons, Publication, Publications

Cette édition de West Africa Insight Cs’intéresse à la manière dont la Chine étend son influence en Afrique de l’Ouest. Tobi Oshodi et James Barnett commencent par donner une vue d’ensemble et une analyse du rôle que les Instituts Confucius, qui sont maintenant au nombre de 15 en Afrique de l’Ouest, jouent pour soutenir l’agenda du soft power de la Chine dans la région.
L’accent mis sur les efforts de la Chine pour étendre son influence de manière plus indirecte est également abordé dans les articles d’Emeka Umejei et de Solomon Elusoji. Tous deux examinent la manière dont la Chine a cherché à s’implanter dans l’espace médiatique en Afrique de l’Ouest en fournissant du contenu et en soutenant les maisons de presse et les journalistes, et dans quelle mesure ces efforts ont un impact sur les reportages, avec un accent particulier sur le Ghana et le Nigeria. Folashadé Soulé porte son attention sur les relations militaires entre la Chine et le Bénin dans un article qui cherche à mieux comprendre comment et pourquoi une telle coopération se met en place, et avec quel impact. Enfin, Adedayo Bakare propose une analyse de la manière dont les relations commerciales sino-ouest-africaines pourraient s’adapter à la zone de
libre-échange continentale africaine et en bénéficierlors qu’elle deviendra opérationnelle.