By Victor Bieni
AWKA-As part of efforts to strengthen the criminal Justice System and Anti-Corruption fight in Nigeria and globally; and most importantly checkmate the dangers posed by the advent of the new media in the 21st century Journalism, the Leadership of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Program Manager (PTCIJ), Mr. Eno Mgboho, Facilitator/Staff (PTCIJ), a resource person/ the Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Mr. Gbenga Ogunleye has tasked professional Journalists in Nigeria and the rest of the World to invade the New Media Space as a good ambassador towards checkmating misinformation, disinformation, or crazy stories that gain much traction and ensure that actual facts do not sink into Oblivion for public good and accountability in Journalism.
PTCIJ Leadership made this assertion yesterday at Awka Anambra State Capital while kick-starting a one week Workshop for selected Journalists in the the South-southeast, South-South Geo-political zones of the country as Sponsored by the European Union and British Council towards checkmating fake news and the promotion of Facts-Checking and investigative in NigeriaJournalism in the criminal Justice System and Anti-Corruption fight.
The program Manager, Mr. Eno then advised professional Journalists in the country to maintain good Journalism by ensuring accuracy, truthfulness, independence, fearlessness, accountability and confidentiality so as to help the citizens, or public with good information they need to make informed decisions embedded in the ethics of the profession for investigstive stories, facts-checking on the reality of fake news in the age of algorithm, artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
In another development, the provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Mr Gbemiga, added that the misinformation and disinformation are products of fake news, that it can be checkmated by Professional Journalists through their massive take- over of the new media space, also by promoting journalism of consequence-factual reporting, knowing that the media is empowered by the Constitution to hold government accountable citing Sections 22, 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, article 19 of UNHRD, Section 35 of ECOWAS treaty, article 10 ACPHR, he urged media professionals to maintain best practices by debunking misinformation, evaluating the social media, investigative the original source of every news, research on every stories and don’t rush before breaking the news, check facts, be verifiable, name source, authoritative, get multiple sources and independent in their investigations and reporting.
To this end, One of the Facilitators and a staff of PTCIJ, Mr Babatunde, stated further that Journalists in Nigeria can maintain the ethics of the profession by ensuring a balance in the equilibrium in the new ecosystem terms of the social and economic models thereby abolishing all corrupt practices and abuse of power, checkmating fake news in the wake of 21st century new media, or digital transition where more than two hundred and ten billion (210B) Websites, Google accounts, Emails, Twitter handles, Facebook sites, WhatsApp, Instagrams, and other social media platforms are open everyday; not legacy media but mere technological platforms, therefore that professional Journalists in Nigeria should partner Premium times towards maintaining exclusivity, credibility checkmate rumours, hoaxes and propaganda for evidential truth in Journalism.
In his words, one of his rhetorical questions: “Why do crazy stories that aren’t true get so much traction, while reality important actual facts sink into Oblivion?”.