Haruna Mohammed Salisu, Editor and Publisher of WikkiTimes Online News Platform has been selected for the 2021 Kwame Karikari Research Fellowship.
Mohammed was selected to join 16 other scholars from The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone as part of a “research fellowship programme initiated through Dubawa’s, Information Disorder Analysis Centre (IDAC)”.
Named after Professor Kwame Karikari, redoubtable media freedom advocate and founder of the Media Foundation for West Africa, MFWA, both the Fact-Checking and Research Fellowships are designed to promote accountability of public institutions, institutionalize the art and culture of fact-checking in newsrooms, and build knowledge around the phenomenon in the Anglophone axis of the West African sub-region.
The programme is designed to “create knowledge on the information disorder ecosystem through extensive research, following an identification of gaps in knowledge that should drive policy and democratic discourse around technological consequences, social media, and political legislation.”
The Fellowship, which is a “twin-track programme offers a six-month fellowship for journalists (fact-checkers) to incorporate fact-checking into their work, and another six-month fellowship for scholars (researchers) to conduct original research for publication in contribution to building knowledge around the current information disorder.”
In his remarks during the induction and training exercise of the selected fellows which took place on Thursday and Friday, in Abuja, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, Executive Director, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, PTCIJ, said that the Programme is designed to enable scholars to contribute to the body of knowledge that will deepen understanding of the information disorder ecosystem.
Mr Mohammed is also a Reporting Fellow at Open Contract Reporting, OCR, The Voices for Change, Africa, projects implemented by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, IWPR, and MacArthur Foundation.
Haruna is also a grant recipient of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), Washington DC.
In 2020, Mohammed was also selected to join the Africa Resilience Network programme, a cohort of selected journalists from Nigeria and Kenya who contribute to identify and expose Covid-19 related disinformation in the two countries.
In recent times, Mr Mohammed had published an explosive investigation detailing how a Bauchi based clinic consistently maltreated patients seeking medical help, systematically disengaged indigenous staff on frivolous allegations.
His report unearthed how the hospital continued to short-change the Bauchi State government on tax revenues for six years – allegations the management of the hospital conceded in an interview.
The investigation also led to the Christian Blind Mission, CBM, an international Christian development organisation working in Nigeria, suspending its eye care programme with Makkah Eye Specialist Hospital, Bauchi.
The foundation, after the publication of the report, dragged WikkiTimes, its publisher and reporter to court, on allegations bordering “defamation of character.”
He was also threatened in a letter suspected to have emanated from the hospital.