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Combating Misinformation in the DRC: A Look at 'Sango ya bomoko'

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Ebenezer Mensah
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Combating Misinformation in the DRC: A Look at 'Sango ya bomoko'

As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) grapples with misinformation, hate speech, and tribalism, the 23rd edition of the bulletin 'Sango ya bomoko' seeks to foster social cohesion. This initiative is a collaborative endeavor by Next Corp. and Kinshasa News Lab through their fact-checking program 'Lokuta Mabe'. Aimed at debunking false information, the program operates across social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. It represents a daily commitment to fact-checking and is embedded in a broader strategy to counter the spread of harmful information in the DRC's electoral context.

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Addressing Hate Speech, Women, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

The bulletin underscores three primary themes: hate speech, women and persons with disabilities (PWDs), and misinformation. In a society marred by tribalism and disinformation, these issues often coalesce, impacting the most vulnerable sections of the community. 'Sango ya bomoko' endeavors to shed light on these matters, fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance.

Next Corp. and Kinshasa News Lab's collaboration is not just about tackling misinformation but also about educating the public. Through 'Lokuta Mabe', they help people distinguish between what is true and what is false. This initiative is particularly crucial in the current electoral context, where misinformation can have significant implications.

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Global Efforts to Tackle Disinformation

Similar initiatives to combat misinformation are seen on the global stage. The Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) works on advancing debates, integrating research, and analysis with policy solutions. It focuses on disinformation, digital rights, and human rights abuses. The DFRLab's Democracy Tech Initiative creates policies for tech and governance that reinforce open societies. Its Foreign Interference Attribution Tracker (FIAT) assesses allegations of foreign interference relevant to the 2020 election. The lab's mission is to identify, expose, and explain disinformation using open-source research to protect democratic institutions.

Moreover, CrisisWatch by Crisis Group, a global conflict tracker, provides early warnings and monitors over 70 conflicts and crises every month. It highlights significant developments in the DRC, specifically related to the electoral cycle and the risk of election-related violence. These global efforts, combined with local initiatives like 'Sango ya bomoko', can play a significant role in combating disinformation and fostering social cohesion.

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