This qualitative study asks the questions: How are online journalists fighting the COVID-19 disinfodemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR)? And what are the challenges they face to counteract fake news, disinformation and report the pandemic in countries where press freedom is undermined?
The CAR and the DRC are ranked as the least press freedom — 132 and 150 respectively out of 180 countries, according to 2020 World Press Freedom Index (Reporters Without Borders). This chapter discusses two cases of new media formats combining journalistic skills, creativity and innovation when communicating risk and acting against disinfodemic, the collaborative website ‘Talato’ for fact-checking on the coronavirus in CAR and the fact-checking online platform ‘Congo Check’ in the DRC. Their accounts feed the discussion of how the disinfodemic is spreading in the region and how their communication strategies are serving as riposte against this major threat. The chapter sheds light to how these independent initiatives contribute to halt the pandemic disinfodemic in their localities. It moreover reveals fact-checking procedures and obstacles faced when journalists attempt to access verifiable and official information in settings where press is not entirely free to operate.