By Seun Akioye
A University of Lagos Associate Professor and UNESCO media and Literacy expert, Dr. Olunifesi Suraj has called for a collaborative grassroot research and people oriented policies in dealing with the issues of hate speech and disinformation.
Suraj, led a team of researchers from different Universities in Lagos to host University of Oxford professor, Dr. Philip N. Howard, who is the Director of the programme on Democracy and Technology alongside Dr. Sheldon Himelfarb, President and CEO of Peace Tech Lab, UK to foster research collaboration on global information environment.
Howard, along with Dr Sheldon are founders of a new global initiative known as the International Panel on the Information Environment (IPIE), which seeks collaboration with other academics in finding a new solution to misinformation.
The IPIE is a Swiss-based body of independent experts from around the world working to provide the most actionable scientific knowledge and policy recommendations to improve today’s unprecedented global information environment.
Launched at the May 2023 Nobel Prize Summit the IPIE is a network of over 250 research scientists from over 55 countries. The IPIE scientists provide neutral assessments on the condition of the information environment, allowing policy makers to take meaningful action.
Dr Sheldon and Dr Howard during an interactive session with members of the academia made a case for data driven, people centric narratives in order to provide sustainable solutions to the issue of fake news and disinformation at both global, continental and national levels.
Other researchers at the event also submitted that the solution to global information disorder requires an interdisciplinary but culturally inclined approach.
Suraj therefore called on African scholars and policy makers to join hands in tackling the challenges posed by the contemporary information disorder through collaborative grassroot research and policy initiatives that is people centric and solution driven taken into consideration the African identity.