CJID and ADISI Cameroun Partners to Launch Advanced OSINT Training on Information Disorder Reporting of Conflict in Cameroon

In a bid to address the persistent challenge of information disorder in conflict-ridden regions within the Lake Chad Quadrangle, the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) is partnering with ADISI Cameroun to train journalists and fact-checkers in Cameroon. The training is designed to enhance their skills in reporting  various forms of information disorder during conflicts using open-source intelligence tools for effective analysis and verification.

This workshop is organised in response to the escalation of information disorder in the Lake Chad Quadrangle, where the countries bordering the Lake Chad basin continue to contend with prolonged conflicts. Particularly noteworthy is the significant role played by digital technologies in amplifying disinformation and misinformation across digital media platforms. To address this challenge, CJID has undertaken the initiative to enhance the capacity of journalists, digital investigation analysts and researchers who wish to gain proficiency in utilising OSINT tools in Cameroon.  These tools are instrumental in tracking information disorder patterns within digital spaces, particularly among terrorist networks. 

In his remark, Mr. Paul-Joel Kamtchang, Executive Secretary of ADISI-Cameroon, noted  that the program will introduce journalists from across Cameroon to cutting-edge tools such as OSINT and AI, providing them with innovative resources to enhance their reporting capabilities. Mr. Kamtchang emphasised the significant benefits that participants stand to gain from this training initiative. He noted, “over the course of three days, participants will not only become acquainted with these tools but will also engage in comprehensive editorial research projects focusing on misinformation surrounding Chad and security issues. The training will be complemented by the technical expertise of professionals from Mali, Senegal, and Cameroon.” He further stated, “We anticipate that the training will be followed by the production and dissemination of in-depth investigative articles addressing misinformation in the Lake Chad region.”

Following the successful completion of the first phase of training in Nigeria, which saw the training of 15 journalists and fact-checkers, with 8 journalists subsequently sub-granted to conduct OSINT research and report on information disorder patterns in conflict areas in Nigeria, this second phase aims to further equip 15 journalists, data analysts, and fact-checkers in Cameroon. Subsequent phases of the project will extend this capacity-building effort to journalists, data analysts, and fact-checkers in Niger and Chad in the coming days.

Reflecting on the project’s progress thus far, Oluwapelumi Oginni, the Project Officer for the Conflict Security and Human Rights project at CJID, emphasised the significance of the innovative approach taken to implement this training project. She expressed optimism about the potential impact of the project’s outcomes, particularly in equipping journalists with the skills to utilise open-source intelligence tools effectively for reporting on information disorder in conflict. Oluwapelumi highlighted the achievements in Nigeria, where 15 journalists underwent training and presented remarkable story and research ideas post-training, which they are presently advancing. She expressed assurance that comparable success will be attained in Cameroon, contributing to the overall impact of the project in combating information disorder in conflict across the Lake Chad Quadrangle.

Furthermore, Silas Jonathan, the Project manager for the Digital Information Disorder Analysis Center (DIDAC) at CJID emphasised the significance of the OSINT training in Cameroon at this point in time as it is crucial for combating systematic information disorder in the Lake Chad region, aiming to restore truth and promote peace through quality reporting. According to him “truth is elusive, especially in an era of information disorder where actors weaponised information to suit their ideologies. We have seen this take the centre stage in the crises within the Lake Chad region where both state and non-state actors deploy systematic information disorder campaigns to fuel the crises within the region. 

“The OSINT training in Cameroon is expected to counter this challenge and defend truth within the crises in the region. It is aimed to bring back lasting peace, provide quality information through quality reporting and expose the nuances of information disorder that has long been at the centre of the crises”.

About the Workshop

The training is scheduled to be held on the 27th – 29th of May, 2024. The integration of OSINT tools will be instrumental in enriching the workshop’s content as participants can anticipate immersive training experience. Through hands-on sessions and interactive discussions, participants will explore the dynamics of utilising open-source intelligence tools for comprehensive analysis and verification of misinformation. The training will provide practical insights into identifying and tracking information disorder patterns within digital spaces, particularly among terrorist networks operating within the Lake Chad Quadrangle. With a commitment to fostering collaboration and innovation, the workshop aims to empower participants to become proactive agents of change in the fight against information disorder, ultimately contributing to a more informed and resilient media landscape in conflict-affected areas. 

Following the training, journalists will have the opportunity to engage in a post-event phase where they will receive sub-grants to produce in-depth investigative articles focused on addressing information disorder in the Lake Chad region.