Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) organized a media clinic to x-ray the good and the challenges presented by social media to the practice of journalism in Africa. It was aimed to present the journalists with strategies of staying above board despite fake and misleading scoops flying around the world.
The AMDF Coordinator, Sekyen Dadik in her opening remark said that this year’s media clinic with the theme: “Ethical Journalism in the Wake of Fake News” is targeted at stakeholders in the media and it provides an opportunity for them to brainstorm on the rise in fake news as professional journalists have fallen victims of such through unverified scoops.
2017 Media clinic marks the third of an annual event and it is one of the series of activities targeted at stakeholders in the media organized by AMDF.
The lead paper presenter Iliya Kure who spoke extensively on Ethical journalism vs Fake news also highlighted the core principle of Ethics which are: truth and accuracy, independence, fairness, and impartiality, accountability, balance, integrity and content among others.
Ethics in journalism he said should also extend to all forms of new media including social media, online magazines and newspapers. So that journalists do not sink to writing falsehood or plagiarism.
He also mentioned 5 types of fake news which are intentionally deceptive, jokes taken at face value, large scale hoaxes, slanted reporting of real fact and stories were the truth is contentious.
He concluded by saying what is good for journalism is also good for others using the internet for public communications.
The participants were divided into three groups and were given a task to discuss on;
- current situation of fake news in Nigeria.
- The pros and cons of social media regulation/laws in Nigeria.
- What can journalists, publishers, CSO’s do to change or minimize the fake news trend.
This was discussed extensively among the participants and they came up with these recommendations;
- To regulate the social media, through the use of ethics applicable in the journalism profession.
- The social media laws are necessary, provided all relevant stakeholders will be involved in the process.
- To use the NUJ to sanction erring members through disciplinary committees
- Professional journalists should be charged to always ensure that they exert their authority in the social media to afford opportunity to dispel fake reports.
- To ensure reports are verified and balanced to avoid falsehood or concocted sponsored reports aimed at disparaging.
- To always get facts and figures correctly from relevant security, humanitarian and statistical agencies.
The coordinator AMDF appreciated all participants for their time and contributions and wished that fake news especially among professional journalists will be reduced to the barest minimum.