By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has trained 50 journalists representing national dailies and reporters of local media on “Digital Journalism and Fact Checking” in Jigawa state.
Speaking while declaring the training open the NITDA Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations Hadiza Umar said the training was aimed at enhancing the capacity of practising journalists on modern journalism and how to take advantage of digital technology to strengthen the public confidence on their editorial contents.
Umar stated further that the essence is to enlighten the journalists on the importance of application of Code of Ethics of journalism profession in their day-to-day activities as a guiding principle of journalism practice.
According to her “Our mission is to update practicing journalists on the concept of modern practices in line with the global trend in digital journalism to conform with the present times, challenges, as well as to refrain from fake news or any unhealthy development which could be inimical to the code of ethics in journalism”.
On his part the publicity secretary of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos Chapter, Samuel Adeyemi warned the participants to beware of people that use them to promote pecuniary ideology and agenda.
The Project Manager of Penlight Centre, Dahiru M Lawal, spoke on online media fact-checking, media monitoring and search engine optimization, where he introduced Journalists and social media influencers to basic knowledge of facts reporting, content monitoring on social media and techniques of using digital tools for effective verification of information.
Also speaking the chairman Jigawa state Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Comrade Muh’d Zangina Kura commended National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for training its members on digital Journalism and Digital Facts checking.
The chairman said, the training will enhance the professional skill of the practicing journalists in the state to meet with the contemporary challenges posed by digital technology
According to him journalists are confronted with dimensional challenges from the social media which serves as vehicles for the spread of fake news in the society.
“Such training will certainly enhance the capacity of our members to counter the menace of fake news in the society by authenticating the source of any information for proper public enlightenment”
“Today everyone has access to social media and can bombard public with all sort of fake and distorted news which only trained and professionals can understand that they are false information” the chairman said.
We will sustain cordial Relationship with the media, says RTEAN
The Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has expressed its determination to sustain the cordial working relationship between the association and journalists in Nigeria.
The RTEAN President, Alhaji Musa Mohammed, made the vow on Thursday during a visit by the leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondents ChFCT Council.
The visit was a sequel to the 3-day football tournament organized by the Chapel for organizations, associations and government agencies in the FCT, during which Alhaji Mohammed was a Special Guest of Honour, but was unavoidably absent.
The visit provided the NUJ FCT Correspondents’ Chapel with the opportunity to decorate the RTEAN President with his medal, present the certificate of participation to the association, and a mini-trophy for RTEAN’s partnership with the Chapel.
In his remarks, Mohammed expressed gratitude to the leadership of the NUJ FCT Correspondents’ Chapel for the honour and recognition just as he promised to sustain the collaboration with the Chapel in all its activities.
“To see all of you today in our national headquarters, I am so excited. We appreciate what you do as journalists, and I want to especially thank you for putting together the 3-day football tournament.
“For you to recognise RTEAN and decorate me with my medal, present the trophy and the certificate to us as your guest and partner, I am so grateful. We appreciate the honour you have given to RTEAN. We will try our best to keep the good relationship between RTEAN and the NUJ,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the FCT Correspondents’ Chapel, Comrade Jide Oyekunle, who led the Chapel delegation, had hailed the RTEAN President for his commitment to peaceful co-existence among members of the association across States of the Federation.
Comrade Oyekunle commended Mohammed for his statesmanship and for choosing the path of honour and peace without resorting to violence during an impasse the Association had with the Lagos State Government.
Oyekunle urged other organizations and associations alike to emulate the RTEAN President’s exceptional and exemplary leadership style exhibited by seeking legal redress in the court of law.
Oyekunle stressed the visit was aimed at promoting strategic partnership and collaboration in many areas that would further deepen the existing relationship between the Chapel and RTEAN.
While seeking the collaboration of RTEAN for the next edition of the football tournament, Oyekunle said the association would be formally invited as a participating team.
He said “We are the executive members of Nigeria Union of Journalists FCT Correspondents Chapel.
“We are here this afternoon to pay homage to you as Special Guest of Honour in our just concluded 3-day football tournament.
“This is borne out of the cordial relationship that has existed between you and the media over the years as well as your love and support for sports development in the country.
“Your presence at the final of our tournament would have been an icing on the cake but we understand your busy schedules and engagements and we are happy to tell you that the tournament was a huge success.
“Sir, it will interest you to know that RTEAN will be formally invited to participate next year in the second edition of our tournament, and we can’t wait to see the President lead the team”.
The highlight of the visit was the formal presentation of a trophy, medal, and certificate of participation to the RTEAN president in recognition of his outstanding and significant contribution to the success of the tournament.
X-raying the consequences of Tinubu’s Crackdown on press freedom
The recent decidion by President Bola Tinubu to restrict several broadcast journalists and prominent media houses from covering activities at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa has raised significant concerns about press freedom, the democratic process, and the very essence of an informed society.
The Nigerian Constitution explicitly upholds the press’s role as a guardian of democracy, empowering it to hold the government accountable to the people.
Section 22 of the Constitution states that “the press, radio, television, and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.
“However, the recent actions by President Tinubu, which exclude broadcast journalists, camera men and photojournalists from media outlets such as GalaxyTv, BenTV, MITV, ONTV, ITV Abuja, Liberty, Vanguard, and others from covering the Presidential Villa, cast a dark shadow over this constitutional commitment.
The fact that more of the affected journalists are video/broadcast journalists underscores the severity of the situation, as the medium’s impact is not limited to print but extends to the hearts and minds of millions through still pictures, moving images and sounds.
The gravity of President Tinubu’s media crackdown is underscored by the manner in which the access tags of the affected journalists were collected on Friday by security officers, without providing any explanation for their exclusion.
This departure from best practices not only raises questions about transparency but also showcases a lack of respect for the media’s vital role in fostering an informed citizenry.
The failure of media outlets like Channels, TVC, AIT, Arise TV, STV, Vanguard, Punch, and others, which were not affected by this crackdown, to report on this significant development is equally disconcerting.
Their silence can be interpreted as an attempt to protect their interests or remain in favor with the authorities.
This division within the journalism profession, where some media houses shy away from highlighting the infringement on press freedom, further weakens the collective strength of the Fourth Estate.
This clampdown on media access has far-reaching implications for Nigeria’s democracy and the freedom of speech that it upholds.
The media serves as a vital check on the government’s power, enabling citizens to be informed and engaged participants in the democratic process.
By limiting access to a select few outlets, President Tinubu risks distorting the flow of information and creating a narrative that lacks the diversity of perspectives required for an informed citizenry.
The authorities have directed the journalists from the affected media houses to source video clips from those that have not been subjected to the crackdown.
However, this approach undermines independent reportage and raises concerns about potential information distortion.
The move raises concerns of censorship and undue control over the media, elements that are antithetical to the principles of a free press.
Censorship often leads to a manipulated version of events, stripping the public of the right to hear different voices and interpretations.
This not only compromises press freedom but also erodes trust in the government and its intentions.
History has shown that restricting media access and silencing dissenting voices can have disastrous consequences for democratic societies.
Examples from around the world serve as cautionary tales. In countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Russia, governments have tightened their grip on media outlets, leading to a decline in press freedom, human rights violations, and the erosion of democratic values.
In the Philippines, former President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law and curtailed press freedom, leading to a decade-long period of dictatorship and human rights abuses.
The aftermath of media crackdowns often reveals a lack of accountability and transparency, allowing governments to operate with unchecked power.
The outcry against President Tinubu’s media crackdown must be massive and resounding. Civil society, media organizations, and citizens alike must unite to defend the principles enshrined in the Constitution and the fundamental role of the media in preserving democracy.
A free press is not a privilege; it is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy that cannot be sacrificed for political expediency.
The media’s duty to inform, educate, and empower the public transcends political agendas.
The collective voice of the people, guided by the principles of a free press, can send a powerful message to the government – that an informed citizenry is a formidable force that cannot be ignored.
As Nigeria navigates this critical juncture, the preservation of press freedom and democratic values stands as a non-negotiable imperative for a just and equitable society.
Removal of billboards is not removal of all eyes on judiciary – Atiku’s Aide
***They know that all eyes are on them on the historic assignment
The destruction of billboards which put up adverts that read, “All Eyes on The Judiciary” was clear evidence of President Bola Tinubu’s authoritarianism and assault on freedom of speech, Phrank Shaibu, who is a Special Assistant on Public Communications to Atiku Abubakar has indicated
Shaibu said this while reacting to the directive by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) to pull down all billboards carrying the advert across Nigeria.
ARCON also dissolved the Advertising Standard Panel which is the statutory panel under the Council charged with the duty of ensuring that advertisements conform to the prevailing laws of the Federation as well as the Code of advertising ethics of the advertising profession.
Shaibu said the entire incident reinforced the argument that election cases in court ought to be completed before beneficiaries of questionable elections are inaugurated.
He further wondered how a message like : “All Eyes on the Judiciary” would translate to a threat to society.
“The basic principle of social justice is about the people. The advertisers of the bill boards only did what the norm is in civilized climes. It was the agents working to impress an interest that read meanings to that innocuous advert.
“Otherwise, it is a basic principle that eyes must be on the wheel of justice. Eyes must naturally be on the wheel of justice because when justice is delivered, it must be ‘seen’ to have been just! In any case, both Tinubu and the APC are before the same court.
“It is curious how they find this particular message upsetting. Anyway, even if they pull down the billboards, they can never stop all eyes from being on the judiciary at this historic time.”
He said ARCON had already begun acting like the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA) which had built a reputation of denying Nigerians the right to carry adverts which the Lagos State government deemed “unfavourable”.
Atiku’s aide said, “Tinubu has, once again, put his dictatorial tendency on public display. How has a simple message that says “all eyes are on the judiciary” suddenly become offensive? This is a clear case of abuse of office and reinforces the argument that court cases ought to be concluded before inauguration so that beneficiaries of fraudulent elections would not be able to manipulate the system in their favour.
“Billboards are used in displaying educational messages. Is there any offence in alerting Nigerians to the fact that all eyes should indeed be on the judiciary? In any case, is there any Nigerian that does not know that the judiciary is hearing the case challenging Tinubu’s fraudulent victory? Even the justices themselves are aware that all eyes are on them because of the historic assignment that they are saddled with. If Tinubu had nothing to hide, why would he be afraid of such a message?
“Nigerians can now see what the people of Lagos have been facing all these years where LASAA denies the opposition the use of billboards just to please their master.
“It has become so bad that Tinubu’s son is the one that has exclusive rights to billboards on the Lekki axis. Who can forget that the company where Tinubu’s son enjoys commanding heights admitted to turning off the billboard lights during the #ENDSARS protests? And the only ridiculous explanation for such a dastardly act is that it wasn’t in bad faith.”
Shaibu said it was ironic that Tinubu claimed to be a democrat and even boasted of funding the June 12 struggle only for him to transform into an intolerant authoritarian after the election.
Atiku’s aide added that it was hypocritical for the same man to be championing democracy in Niger while at the same time denying Nigerians the most basic form of democracy which includes freedom of speech and expression. He needs to be reminded that charity begins at home.
He said the statement at the Senate screening by Dele Alake, that ‘social media would be regulated soon’ was just another evidence that Tinubu had no regard for democratic norms.
Shaibu added, “While we keep calling on the judiciary to restore the mandate of the people, we cannot but ask the citizens to be vigilant as the corn-man tries to undermine our democracy.
“Having failed in his last 70 days in office, which has increased Nigeria’s inflation and destroyed the value of the naira, systematically denied Nigerians the right to protest or go on strike. “Under the watch of this administration, inflation had climbed to an 18-year high.
“He wants to regulate social media so that his failures would not be amplified. You can’t flog Nigerians, and expect them not to cry. This will never happen.”
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