The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
In this piece, Aanu Adeoye, 2021 Ibrahim Academy Fellow at Chatham House and former news editor of The Continent, a weekly pan-Africa newspaper, outlines the impact of this publication and its focus on combating fake news.
We believe a vibrant press is crucial to a functional democracy. Our mission is to provide information about our continent.
Below is an excerpt; read the full piece here.
When the pandemic struck so did fear, anxiety and uncertainty as the world found itself suddenly stuck at home shielding from a novel virus. This provided a fertile ground for misinformation to spread. Rumours about COVID-19’s provenance swirled as false cures such as steam inhalation made their way across social media.
Inundated with fact-checking requests from friends and family, I joined a group of journalists in South Africa who saw the crisis as an opportunity to launch a newspaper to combat the deluge of fake news.
At a time when the pandemic had hit advertising revenue and forced many in the news business to take pay cuts, starting a media venture seemed counter-intuitive. But we did it anyway.
Led by Simon Allison, a foreign correspondent and Africa editor of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, our team of reporters, editors and illustrators began publishing The Continent, a weekly pan-African newspaper designed to be shared and read on messaging apps, especially WhatsApp. The first edition launched on April 18, 2020.