To tackle the pervasiveness of fake news and fake journalists, the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has tasked journalists and media owners on ethical best practices and enhanced professionalism.
Lamenting that fake journalists were giving journalism a bad name, the NPC leadership stressed that the media’s integrity will be upheld if gatekeepers do not downplay highly held standards of journalism and counter fake news with ethical journalism.
NPC’s acting Secretary, Dr Victor Egharevba, and Director, Research and Documentation, Mrs Stella Jibrin, gave this charge at a workshop for journalists on ethical journalism, held in Akure, Ondo State.
Speaking, Egharevba decried media bias and sensationalism as issues that have continued to erode the trust and credibility of the media and its performance of its duty of monitoring governance and holding government accountable.
He warned that the consequences of the public losing confidence in the integrity of the media were grave, noting that it was morally imperative for the media to observe the highest professional and ethical standards.
In her own remarks, Jibrin stressed the need for the media to be self-regulatory so as to tackle unethical and unprofessional practices from within.
One of the resource persons at the workshop, Dr Bisi Olawumi, urged the media to interrogate statements from newsmakers and media manipulators as a way to curb fake news.
He decried that journalism had become an all-comers affair, urging individual journalists to be keen on self-pride and ethical practice.
Regarding the media as key to national security, through its reportage, another resource person, Dr Felix Talabi, urged the media to live up to its responsibility of checking the excesses of those in power, without fear or favour.
Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Lagos State, Dr Quasim Akinreti, decried that the mainstream media was sleeping and allowed bloggers and other non-professionals take over the journalism profession.
Noting that mainstream journalists had become reliant on social media, he advocated continuous training for journalists to uphold professionalism.
A don of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Dr Raphael Abimbola, described gatekeeping as the antidote to fake news, warning that many media houses were at risk of collapse unless they raise their bar in terms of professional and ethical practice.
This post first appeared on Nigerian Tribune.