In March 2020, the WHO declared Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic. The outbreak of the disease disrupted the activities of almost every institution – be it public, private, or civil society organisation.
At the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), even though the COVID-19 had a heavy toll on our work, it did not stop our resolve to push for further expansion of the frontiers of free speech, media freedoms, and access to information.
The destructive nature of the virus could not distract the MFWA from providing media institutional development support, empowering the media for participatory and accountable governance, or contributing to the fight against the spread of the virus by empowering the media to provide factual information in a timely manner.
At the peak of the outbreak and thereafter, for instance, the MFWA produced over 200 fact-check reports, dozens of explainers and a number of documentaries to counter myths, fake news, and mis/disinformation about the virus. This was effectively done by partnering with 50 local-language radio stations across Ghana who helped in relaying fact-checked information to people in local dialects.
On our freedom of expression advocacy front, the MFWA produced about 130 alerts, statements, and reports to inform and shape our advocacy efforts. The organisation also facilitated police-media engagements in Ghana, Guinea, and Nigeria and produced police-media frameworks to help improve the safety of journalists.
To read more about MFWA’s achievements/impact in 2020, including how the organisation contributed to issues-based and peaceful elections in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Niger; the release of an imprisoned Beninese journalist; capacity building interventions for journalists, local assembly officials, female journalists, and bloggers; click here to read our 2020 Annual Report.