Activity: Media Clinic
Date: June 2017
Theme: “Ethical Journalism in the era of Fake news”
In line with its mission of providing a platform for media practitioners to discuss issues that pertains to the ethics, practice and development of the media, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) held its 3rd Annual Media Clinic at Sanab Luxury Inn Kaduna, North West Nigeria on Tuesday 13th June 2017.
Media Clinic is a forum that brings together Stakeholders in the Media and the Civil Society to x-ray issues that affect the media with the aim of proffering solutions for such.
The theme for 2017 Media Clinic: “Ethical Journalism in the Era of Fake News” x-rayed the opportunities and challenges presented by social media to the practice of journalism in Africa.
It was aimed at engaging and encouraging participating organizations to ensure best practices that do not compromise ethical standards as they explore opportunities presented by the internet. It also presented journalists with strategies of staying above board despite fake and misleading scoops flying around the world.
Presenting the lead paper, a Media Specialist, Iliya Kure reiterated the need for journalists to maintain professional standard and adhere strictly to the journalistic ethics each time they are writing stories.
He cautioned them to resist the temptation of indulging in the ‘Fake News’ syndrome, adding that it adds nothing other than eroding the integrity of the journalist.
He called on journalists to remember the core principles of the practice among them truth and accuracy, editorial independence, fairness, and impartiality, accountability, balance and integrity among others.
Kure added that beyond professional journalists, writers of other platforms including citizen journalists must also be guided so as not to sink into writing falsehood or be found guilty of plagiarism.
He opined that the same rule applies; what is good for professional journalists is also good for other writers using the new media, or social media for public consumption.
During the event, participants were divided into three groups and were given task to discuss on;
1 The current situation of fake news in Nigeria.
2 The pros and cons of social media regulation/laws in Nigeria.
3 What can journalists, publishers, and CSO’s do to change or minimize the fake news trend?
Extensive discussions ensued among the participants and these recommendations were reached:
- To regulate the social media, through the use of ethics applicable in the journalism profession.
- Social media laws are necessary, provided all relevant stakeholders will be involved in the process.
- NUJ should 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.
- Professional journalists should ensure reports are verified and balanced to avoid falsehood or concocted sponsored reports aimed at disparaging.
- Professional journalists should always get facts and figures correctly from relevant security, humanitarian and statistical agencies.
Media executives that featured were drawn from the print and broadcast in the conventional media and online practitioners.