Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
Practising journalists in Nigeria have been tasked to adhere strictly to rules and ethics of the profession before, during and after the 2019 general election.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, made the called yesterday in his lecture titled: ‘The Media and News Reporting in an Election Year’ as guest speaker at the 2018 Press Week Grand Finale of Kogi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Lokoja.
According to him, general elections are less than 200 days away in our country. And how the media reports between now and then will have great impact on how things turn out.
“The media is going to be crucial to whatever happens to the country before and after the election,” he said, adding that the country would be better if the media displayed and upheld the tenets of the profession.
He said the outcome of the 2019 general election would depend on how the media acquits itself during the exercise whether the conduct would be peaceful and free and fair.
Whether the election would be violence-free and flawless and lead to the enthronement of the best hands in different positions at all levels and whether the country would remain one entity or be further fragmented depends on the media. The presidential spokesman however urged media professional to beware of the deadly duo of fake news and hate speech.
He described fake news as made-up information, concocted, without any authentication and fiction masquerading as news.
Adesina noted that very close to the phenomenon of fake news is hate speech, saying the duo could best be described as Siamese twins.
Hate speech, he said, aimed to generate hate; demean, demonise and de-market.
“By the time fake news and hate speech team up, a huge bomb is waiting to explode. It can consume a nation as we have seen in places like Rwanda, Kenya, and many others,” he added.
Adesina therefore urged journalists to imbibe both global and Nigerian journalism ethics, and not to push out toxic unsubstantiated information and concoctions but fact check themselves before publication.
In his goodwill message, Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello, Edward Onoja, urged journalists to embark on self-audit or self-check in order to come out with facts and figures in their reportage.
Also speaking, Vice President, NUJ, Zone D, Wilson Bako, also said the country was at a crucial stage, and urged journalists not to allow anybody or situation to push them into publishing libelous stories.
Also, a management consultant and lecturer with Kogi State University (KSU), Dr. John Alabi, also presented a paper on ‘Harnessing the Inland Waterways for Economic Prosperity’ at the occasion.