Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) on Wednesday unveiled the League of Professional Online Journalists (LEPOJ) in an orientation for both new and old members at the AMDF Training Room in Kaduna, Nigeria.
The orientation was organisée by LEPOJ with support from AMDF.
Addressing participants, Coordinator of LEPOJ, Alex Uangbaoje, said, LEPOJ is an association of professional online journalists that seeks to promote professionalism not only in Nigeria, but Africa at large.
The association also provides a forum for exchange of ideas, knowledge and capacity of its members.
“We all know the issue of fake news and hate speeches in recent times has become a serious problem to the media world especially the use of internet through social media to promote ideas and reports that can pull nations down in the name of disseminating news and when these stories are pushed out by anybody, blogs, news website, the impression the public gets is that it is the news media that published it”, he said.
AMDF Coordinator, Mrs. Sekyen Dadik, who spoke on the importance of the association said, emergence of the internet and the proliferation of different social media platforms have introduced a new paradigm in news production: news gathering and distribution, hence the need to professionalise work by practitioners.
“This has not only changed the way news is consumed but has opened new vista for journalists who now have to go beyond the traditional news medium to engaging the new media, to satisfy and maintain their teeming consumers.
“This trend has given birth to what is now referred to as Online Journalism, which involves more than just the traditional skills of gathering information, interviewing people and writing a story.
“It allows reporters to use multiple media – literally, “multimedia” – to create story packages that can appeal to different audiences and engage readers in exciting and effective ways.
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna chapter, Yusuf Adamu, tasked journalists on the continent to be up and doing in order to prevent quacks from taking over their jobs, and also stressed that Journalism Ethics should not be compromised.
“Journalists must work hard to maintain professional standards” he added.
LEPOJ was formed by AMDF to promote networking among online journalists in Africa, as well as serve as a place of refuge for members against threats and intimidation from repressive regimes and other threats to free media”.
Objectives include to:
1. Promote professionalism and excellence among online journalists in Africa, as well as strengthening capacity of online journalists.
Interested members must satisfy the following;
Ø They must be practicing professional journalists with active presence on the internet.
Ø They must either be online news publishers or report for an active genuine news website.
Ø The Online News Organizations they work for must be legally registered in the country where they are based.
Ø The News websites they work for must have an editor and a valid contact address (reflecting office location, phone number and email) on the website.
Ø Be ready, to pay a yearly subscription fee which will be used to finance activities of the group.
AMDF’s mission is ‘providing professional support to media, as well as development communication initiatives. It also promotes press freedom.