News & Media / Africa: Newspaper countering fake news

Africa: Newspaper countering fake news

15 December, 2021

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.

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