By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Executive Director Services (EDS), Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Dr. Abdullahi Idris, has described fake news and hate speech as the biggest threats facing democracies around the world.
He appealed to media organisations to educate the Nigeria populace on dangers of fake news.
Dr. Idris disclosed this in his welcome address at the 6th Edition of KRPC Annual Workshop for Media Practitioners in Kano, North-West, Nigeria on the 14th of December, 2018 with the Theme: Ethics, Professionalism and Credibility in Media Practice: The Intervening Variables of Fake News and Hate Speeches in Nigeria News Coverage.
According to him, for democracy to function well, it requires citizenry that is well-informed and operating on the same set of basic assumption, pointed out that the growth of misinformation and fake news is to help people separate fact from fiction.
“The theme of the workshop is centered on misinformation commonly called fake news coupled with the spread of hate speeches which are in my opinion, biggest threats facing democracies around the world today.
“They may come in the form of mobs, attacking innocent people, religious, ethnic bigotry and people being profiled on the basis of their political affiliations or sexual orientation.
“This is gravely a serious problem, because for a democracy for function well, it requires a citizenry that is well-informed and operates on the same set of basic assumption.
“The objective KRPC wishes to achieve by sponsoring this workshop as its way of delivering cooperate social responsibility to this important segments of the society, the mass media, and society services to the nation as a whole.
“From today going forward, we’ll be counting on you not only not to indulge but spread the message that fake news is damaging and dangerous and educate the people in your different social network and communities to be Vigilant against the threat of false information.
“Same goes with evil of hate speech. “Colleagues (journalists), you are chosen to participate in this workshop because of your special skills and outstanding reputations. As experienced journalists, already know how to verify information and seek multiple sources before sharing information” He stressed.
The EDS therefore mentioned that even though the job of educating the public may be a big challenge, believed that the media will succeed.
Also in his remark, the Manger, Public Affairs of KRPC, Alhaji Aminu Mustapha Daneji lamented that recent happenings has signify that journalists is in danger of being overwhelmed by rogue politics and a communications revolution that accelerates the spread of lies, misinformation and dubious claims.
Alhaji Daneji opined that the rise of propaganda, hate speech and self-regarding politics with an extremist edge threatens stability and peace both within countries and abroad.
According to him, the problem of journalists is not just the rise of the internet behemoths and the impact of technology, saying the crisis they face is that news in its traditional formats has become unfashionable and that the media business no longer makes money out of news.
He stressed that the “challenges of the coming years, will be to reinvigorate the public purpose of journalism and to assist media to reconnect with citizens more effectively.
“It requires journalists to recommit to their craft with reporting that reaches out to their audience and listens to what is being said and reports it in context.
“The purpose of the workshop is to share, understand and learn best practices, engage in critical self-assessment for reorientation and adjustment to the realities of today as it concerns the ethnic, professionalism and credibility of the media in Nigerian news coverage
“How media rebuild public trust in quality journalism will be a major question n the coming years and not just for academics and students of mass communication” he said.
Alhaji Daneji stressed the need for journalists to be more investment in quality information and actions to combat hatred, racism and intolerance, adding that there is also the need to reposition the media to tackle the rising wave of hate speeches and fake news in nation especially the period of electioneering campaign.