…as John Mayaki charges media practitioners, sends strong warning to politicians
Ben Peters, Abuja
The Minister of State, Labour and Productivity, Festus Keyamo and his counterpart in the Ministry of Budget and National planning, Clem Agba on Monday tasked journalists to always verified their sources of information before publishing.
They both gave the advice at a programme organised by Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa at the Abuja Continental hotel, Abuja.
Earlier, Country Director, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa, John Mayaki called on media practitioners to always self-regulate their activities in line with the ethics of their profession.
Mayaki made the call in an interview with journalists at a Media Workshop, “Balancing Ethics and Patriotism: The Obligations of Journalists to their Country”, organised by the NGO at the Abuja Continental Hotel on Monday in Abuja.
He said journalists and media owner should always self-regulate themselves by disregarding fake news and fact-checking the sources of information
“Let us on our own self-regulate ourselves. It is good we do so to avoid unnecessary attacks from the government.
Mayaki however noted that in a democratic setting, the government cannot shut down a media organisation for any reason.
“This is not a military government; if we must practice democracy we cannot regulate contents. Government cannot ban media houses or shut down any, no! It’s not obtainable in a democratic situation. There is freedom of information.”
He further warned political parties to desist from using the media to pull down the country.
“We want to advise the political parties to be cautious of using the media to pull down our nation. If the country degenerates today they won’t have a nation to govern.
“You want to win at all costs, and then you cook a story and send it out. If the country collapsed and burnt, you won’t have a country to govern.
“Consider your country, you cannot bring it down because you want to win power; we must be careful of the type of information we are sending out.
“The fact that someone is aged, and you then used it against him. Everyone is going to get old some day”. He said.
One of the guest speakers, Prof. Abiodun Adeniyi who spoke on the topic, “Ethical Considerations In Source Management”, said the quality of your news item is dependent on the quality of your source.
While urging media practitioners to always verify the source of information, the deputy Dean of School of Postgraduate Studies, Baze University Abuja, noted that news is naturally fake when the sources are probably non-existence.
“The source of a news item is what determines the quality and integrity of the news story. So as journalists we must ensure to check the source of every information that comes our way”. Prof Adeniyi said.
On his part, Mr. Opeyemi Kehinde, Editor, FactCheckHub and National Coordinator of Nigeria Fact-Checkers Coalitions said the media have a gatekeeping function to play in the dissemination of information which is part and parcel of the ethics of their profession.
Speaking on the topic, “Fact-Checking And Media Literacy: Tools For Combating Fake News, Mr Kehinde stated that fake news are on the loose because of the democratisation of access to information.
We need to understand that not everything you see online that you need to read or publish. We must always fact-check them as media practitioners.” He added