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UNESCO Expert, DR SURAJ Seeks Global Solutions To Fake News Through International Research Collaboration



In order to checkmate the menace of algorithmic manipulation, bias, hate speech, misleading information, deep fakes and other acts that have created a global information environment crisis and an existential threat to humanity which has led to the countless loss of lives and an erosion of trust in modern institutional governance, a renowned UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Expert, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication in the University of Lagos, Dr Olunifesi Suraj, led a group of researchers from diverse disciplines in different Universities in Lagos to host an Oxford University professor, Dr. Philip N. Howard, the Director of the programme on Democracy and Technology in Oxford along with Dr. Sheldon Himelfarb, President and CEO of Peace Tech Lab, UK., to foster research collaboration on global information environment.
Dr Howard, along with Dr Sheldon, being the founders of a new global initiative known as the International Panel on the Information Environment (IPIE) of which Dr Olunifesi Suraj is a regional coordinator are seeking to embrace other academics in addressing the global information disorder.
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. IPIE was launched at the May 2023 Nobel Prize Summit and moulded on the IPCC’s work on climate change. The IPIE is already 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 before it’s too late.
Dr Suraj with his international team of IPIE are seeking new answers to challenges such as mis/disinformation, hate speech, algorithmic manipulation, A.I biases and other aspects of the information ecosystem that are impeding human progress in critical issues from global trade to electoral trust. In a meeting convened at the University of Lagos on the 9th of November, 2023, scholars from different disciplines from different Universities in Lagos assembled in the university of Lagos to address how to channel their research expertise in addressing the global pandemic.
The founders of IPIE, Dr Sheldon and Dr Howard from Oxford University 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. This collaborate other researchers who are also of the opinion that the solution to global information disorder requires an interdisciplinary but culturally inclined approach. Dr Olunifesi Suraj who is a member of UN/UNESCO Global Experts in Addressing Hate Speech through Education made a case for a whole societal approach in dealing with the issue of disinformation and hate speech. He therefore calls 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.