Fake news and hate speeches by unqualified bloggers can pull nations down says LEPOJ

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By: Kate Obi/Kaduna

The issue of Fake News and Hate Speeches in recent times is said to has become a very serious problem to the media world, especially the use of internet through social media to promote ideas and reports that can pull nations down, set the citizens against the authorities and against themselves, even destroy families and relationships all in the name of disseminating news.

The Team Leader of League of Professional Online Journalists (LEPOJ) and also a Journalist, Mr. Alex Uangbaoje made this known at an orientation and awareness meeting of the League of Professional Online Journalists for Kaduna-based Online Journalists in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria Friday.

He said when these stories are ‎pushed out by anybody, blogs or news websites that are created by some people who can afford to pay for website design, the impression the public gets is that it is the news media that published it because of the faith they have in the noble profession, without being able to distinguish between the non-professionals and those who are trained to disseminate information.

Mr. Uangbaoje informed that the meeting which is in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organization-Africa Media Development Foundation is aimed at bringing all online journalists in Kaduna and Nigeria in general to come together under one umbrella to think creatively and promote professionalism‎ in online journalism.

He stated that the Association also provides a forum for exchange of ideas, knowledge and capacity of its members in order to continue to uphold the integrity of the online journalism.

The Team Leader continue to mentioned that the gathering became necessary because Kaduna is one of the most vibrant state when it comes to providing the public with quality information, but unfortunately the online journalists here don’t even understand that they are more powerful and should be in the lead rather they are still queuing behind those who should be begging us for direction‎.”

‎in her remark, the Co-ordinator of Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF),, Mrs. Sekyen Dadik noted that the emergence of the internet and the proliferation of different social media platforms have introduced a new paradigm in news production: news gathering and distribution.

This, she said, 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.

Mrs. Dadik opined that the is against this backdrop that the Africa Media Development Foundation in keeping with its mandate of providing professional support and insights to the media came up with a platform for Online Journalists.

According to her, the platform which intends to bring together online journalists in Africa is aimed at fostering professional excellence and information sharing among African online journalists and also seeks to promote networking among members as well as serve as a place of refuge for members against threats and intimidation from repressive regimes and other threats to free media.

While contributing, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, charged the online journalists to continue to uphold professionalism at all times as that is the only bedrock to gaining public confidence.

He disclosed that the Union is already working on set standard to create space for Online Journalists in the council and however commended the effort of AMDF and LEPOJ for coming up with an idea to change the tide of unprofessional conduct in the practice of online journalism in Nigeria.

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