Non professionals posing serious challenge to journalism in the country - University Don
Ahmed Ahmed, January 10, 2019
A university Don with the faculty of communication at the Bayero University, Kano, Dr. Rukayyah Yusuf Ali has described as worrisome a situation whereby untrained people join the profession in the context of social media, noting that the trend if unchecked will continue to pose serious challenge to journalism in the country.
Rukayya a guest speaker was delivering a paper titled, ‘The Relevance of Mainstream Media in Speech Countering Fake News, Hate Speech and Curbing Insecurity in Nigeria‘to the on-going Bauchi State Council NUJ Press Week.
Dr. Ali noted that technology has revolutionized information processing and dissemination thereby giving birth to what is today popularly known as digital media, online media or the new media.
She said, “Now we have more information access on our finger tips, now we have people going into the media profession even though they are not trained, this has posed a challenge for us”.
She observed that the fabrication of fake news and hate speech comes as as result of access and use of the media by non-professional or any person that feel he has the gadgets to do that, which is a problem to media practice.
The guest speaker gave the negative aspect of the new media as fake news and hate speech specifically in the Nigerian context.
She then defined fake news as fabricated story which has no credible evidence base with apparent purpose of misinforming and persuading the audience to take action which is mostly negative, saying fake news is misleading and degrading.
"Part of the negativity that social media, new media or digital media brought us presently is the issue of a story that is not evidence based, not fruitful or which someone just concoct".
Dr. Rukayyah said that hate speech and fake news has been condemned as a national disaster and threat to national security, stressing that hate speech and fake news put journalism of today to question of credibility and reliability.
She also defined insecurity as a situation where members of the society are thrown to danger or lack of confidence with regard to their lives and property, saying lack of security is a violation of one of the cardinal fundamentals of human rights principle.
“Because of the nature of the new media which gives free access and manipulations of unethical coverage and dissemination of some misinformation, the traditional, media remain very vital in addressing the menace of hate speech and fake news”
“A number of us that have been trained and working for the mainstream media are not digitally inclined, we still have techno-phobia. We quarrel with digital media practitioners, claiming that they are intruding into our work”.
“But what is it that we are supposed to do, it is simple, rise up to the challenge, it’s a situation that technology has brought and no one can change, you can’t turn-down the hands of the clock, therefore just join the train and as much as possible try to update yourself and utilize the new media so that you can improve your own standard of professionalism”.
Dr. Yusuf Ali therefore appealed to the Bauchi state government to equip its media organizations and train the journalists on digital operations.
She stressed the need for facing the additional challenge and professionalism of the part of journalists as, according to her, they must face the challenges posed by technology and extra creativity in reporting.
“We know that we no longer break news, most of the time the news is broken before the time for our bulletin or time of going to press. What do we have to do, most of our media has online version, we shouldn’t compete with ordinary person that he is also a reporter. We are process disseminate information, we should compete with them in terms of professionalism”.
“You should show them that we are above them because we are trained, there is no use to be in rush to break the news, so sit back to verify and dig further”.
The press week was declared open by Governor Mohammed Abubakar, represented by his deputy, Arc. Abdu Sule Katagum who observed that the week is being annually celebrated by both serving and retired journalists in the spirit of friendship, and to share some rigors of the job.