Awka-Newly elected President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Christopher Isiguzo, has appealed to desperate politicians to stop encouraging the destruction of Nigeria through facilitating the circulation of Fake News’.
Isiguzo made the observation during his courtesy call on Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C Don Adinuba in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka on March 4.
Desperate politicians use the social media influencers or operators to spread all manner of fake news.
In their desperation, they engage in all manner of activities like mudslinging, name calling, character assassination, that you cannot observe in sane climes as witnessed during Nigeria’s recent electioneering campaigns.
So, I am appealing to them not to destroy our country with fake news,” Isiguzo said.
When politicians begin to see election as normal game of winners and losers, you will see that the spread of fake news will begin to drop.
It is obvious from experience that local political actors are indeed originators of these fake news; they use those they brand as social media influencers to spread such negative news designed to achieve their desired goals,” Isiguzo said.
The NUJ chief, however, absolved registered journalists (NUJ Members) of blame in the spread of fake news.
Journalists do not really engage in ferreting fake news, but these are largely the handiwork of untrained elements, who are just armed with smart mobile phone equipped with data.
If you go to the social media and check well, you will not see journalists spreading fake news.
The trained journalists are aware that fake news is deliberate disinformation. So, no true journalist will go about spreading fake news.
If one story you dish out today is discovered to be fake news; of course your integrity and credibility has been dragged into the mud: and for you to come out of it, will take a lot of time and effort,” he noted.
Isiguzo explained, however, the NUJ has plans to curb the spread of fake news in Nigeria.
Today, we have the Guild of Professional Bloggers, the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria and other such groups in the media.
And so, we intend to bring them together. We are going to meet with their leaders in Abuja by the end of the month and workout how we can interface.
In the meeting, we will absorb them in our next Constitutional review platform as our affiliates.
And there, we will set out certain criteria that we will agree on, before integrating them; because the only way you can sanction somebody is when that person is part of you.
And, if such a person is caught in fake news spread, hate speech and other unwanted acts, there will be consequences,” the NUJ President said.
He adds: by the time we sit with them; we will be able to bring them closer and tell them the rules of engagement.
And once you step out of the bounds, you face the consequences of engaging in such an aberration,”
Isiguzo said: until I meet with the leaders of social media influencers, I will not be able to control their activities”.
Source: Anambra State Government