By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has declared that enemies of journalists are the promoters of “fake news”.
Chairman, Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, Mrs Nefishetu Yakubu made the remark at the maiden mandatory training programme for members of the Chapel on Tuesday in Benin City.
The theme of the programme was tagged, “fake news as a menace to Nigeria’s democracy.”
She noted that the media industry has been under vicious attack arising from the menace of fake news for ulterior motives.
“This attack is coming from many angles. Some of us as professional media practitioners are actively involved while the main architects are those who do not wish the society well, so they go about generating and sharing Fake news.
“The consequence is that a very gullible society like ours bears the brunt of the calamity.
“A nation that is fed with fake news cannot survive for too long. Fake news will thrive in an atmosphere where information meant for the public is clothed in secrecy and the public is left in the dark. That is undemocratic”, she said.
A Felix lecturer at the event, Dr Felix Oriakhi, one of the lecturer, described fake news as a selfish and self-centered desires of the promoters.
While speaking on the topic, “democracy and national development in Nigeria: The damage fake news can do”, upbraided some Ministers of Information, Spokespersons of Presidents, Governors, Ministers, Local Government Chairpersons, and spokesperson of Chief Executives of MDAs for categorizing unpleasant stories about their organizations as fake news.
Oriakhi who is from the department of Political Science, Federal University, Otuoke, however noted that if unchecked fake news could plunge the nation into unexpected crisis.
According to him, “Fake news is purposely propagated by its initiator for personal interest either for political or economics interest.
“The menace has affected every facet of the nation including her voting pattern.
The former journalist who advised journalists not to accept everything they see on social media as true, however emphasised that fact-checking is a key to professional journalism.
He said it was unfortunate that any truth said about the ruling class this days is seen and perceived as fake news and hate speech by the ruling class.
On his part, Mr Tunde Ebozoje, lecturer at the Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, said increase in fake news has resulted in unnecessary tension in our society. Ebozoje who spoke on fake news: A menace to Nigeria’s democracy.”
He explained that the efficacy of the internet is an impetus to the ever increasing trend of fake news in our society.
He also posited that the only solution to fake news for professional journalists is fact-checking and an analytical mind that should be able to distinguish lies from truth.