Thursday, July 29, 2021

Fake news, threat to journalism profession, Buhari raises alarm

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Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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President Muhammadu Buhari says media professionals and other stakeholders must correct and safeguard Journalism profession from the activities of fake news peddlers who are bent on destabilising the nation’s socio-political system.

The president gave the challenge when he received the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday.

According to him, it is duty bound on the part of all media workers to fight against all vices threatening the profession to protect their reputation in the society.

He said: “Journalism as a profession is primarily based on being truthful. With the growing increase in fake news the future of your profession is under threat.

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“Therefore, you must be ready to correct this and safeguard your professionalism and your reputation.’’

President Buhari, who observed that Information Technology is changing the world, however frowned at the use of technology to promote hatred and violence in the society.

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He also condemned the situation where images were being manipulated to give legitimacy to lies or airing voices on radio stations preaching falsehood and hatred.

“Technology is an enabler for good. However in recent times we are seeing this platform more and more being used to instigate violent and hate.

“Nowhere is this disturbing trend more apparent than in the various media platforms where fake news gaining momentum and is being used to divide and destabilize communities and indeed nations around the country.

“We see images being manipulated to give legitimacy to lies. We hear voices on radio preaching falsehood and hatred.

“Like I mentioned a few months ago at a world economic forum in Jordan – since digital information age is borderless this means we must be ready to respond with the best weapon we have – Truth,’’ he said.

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President Buhari, therefore, enjoined the board and management of the FRCN to develop strategies to counter fake news and misinformation in the society.

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He said: “In the case of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria you must proactively develop programmes based on truth, facts and broader national interests.

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“You should also have strategies to react to fake information and sensitise our citizens not to believe stories at face value especially when the source is unknown or not credible or where supporting facts are not available.’’

In his remarks, the chairman, FRCN board of the Directors, Malam Aliyu Hayatu, called for adequate funding of the corporation to enable it achieve its objectives.

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According to him, adequate budgetary allocation to the Corporation must be seen as addressing a security challenge which aims at bringing government closer to the people, with the aims of averting the high-jacking of the thoughts and consciousness of Nigerians by foreign radio broadcasts.

“When this capability and associated requirements are satisfied, the FRCN should be in a position to record a much greater quantum of revenue than is the case presently

“Mr President, funding FRCN should not be seen as a strictly business venture that is expected to provide immediate monetary return.

“We at FRCN hope and indeed, strongly believe that the NEXT LEVEL agenda of the government of President Buhari, will include bequeathing to Nigeria a Federal Radio Network that will favourably compare with the best anywhere in the world. Mr President this is not an impossible task,’’ he added.

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