From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
A group under the aegis of Jos Stakeholders Centre for Peace (JSCP) has organised a two-day workshop to increase the capacity of stakeholders in identifying and managing “COVID-19 related rumours”.
The workshop aims to address misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic in Plateau State and beyond.
The workshop which was supported by Search for Common Ground (SFCG) under the ConnexUS European Union Funds had the theme: “The Prevention of COVID-19, Misinformation and Disinformation Through Rumour Management”.
In his welcome address, JSCP Consultant Coordinator, Comrade Jacob Pwakim, said the aim of the workshop was to sensitise stakeholders on the ills of misinformation and disinformation as regards the spread of the virus.
Pwakim said that the outbreak of the virus and its impact on the well being of the society across the globe prompted the need to consolidate existing efforts especially in the area of the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation through rumour management.
He said that the issue of misinformation and disinformation had done more harm in the spread of the virus and its impact.
“The spread of misinformation on social media and through other channels can affect COVID-19 vaccine confidence and its prevention, “he maintained.
The Consultant Coordinator said that misinformation often arose when there were information gaps as human nature sought to reason and fill in the gaps.
Similarly, Dr Charles Dickson, a facilitator at the workshop, said that rumour management was key for the effective management and prevention of the COVID-19 virus.
Dickson said that misinformation and disinformation had hampered the effective management of COVID-19.
“It becomes pertinent that conversation about learning about this important topic is held.
“I think the takeaway from this workshop is for citizens to understand that there are various reasons why people are proponents of rumours”, he admonished.
A participant at the workshop, Comrade Steve Aluko, commended the organisers of the workshop, describing the programme as “apt and timely”.
Aluko said, he had “learnt and unlearned” things during the workshop, adding that this would enable him to prevent the spread of misinformation and disinformation not just about the virus, but also about misinformation and disinformation, generally.
Participants were drawn from media, health sector, religious, civil society among others.