Arisekola Wole, an Ibadan Mogaji and the President of the Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (AMPON), has called for quick measures to combat fake news circulation in Nigeria.
Arisekola said this during a press briefing at Eko Hotel in Lagos that, security agents are with the full authority to prosecute individuals involved in spreading false information to misinform the general society.
While expressing his concerns to journalists, called Nigerian journalists to be descriptive and be alive to happenings in the country rather than following unconcerned and needless issues around. According to him, there is need for Nigerian journalists to move away from an era of imperial colonialism or the fight against apartheid and focus on combating the rampant issue of fake news.
“I have said it at different fora and I will continue to maintain that fake news phenomenon is a serious scourge that must be fought headlong in Nigeria and stakeholders need to help in changing the narrative. More importantly, I equally urge the government through its law enforcement agencies to bring the purveyors of fake news to justice. The media space must be rid of irresponsible journalism and the social media must also be sanitized to pave ways for decency and propriety.”
“Gone are the days where someone will hide behind the computer or his or her smart phones and will be misleading the public with all manners of information that are not only untrue or fake but very damaging, repugnant or capable of causing unrest or setting the country on fire. There are technologies now that can track any purveyor of fake news wherever they are. people with negative energy are not fit to practice journalism. Journalists must be balanced in their reportage, they must be investigative, thorough and unbiased, and must also be an ambassador of truth which is very sacred.”
“Meanwhile, newsmaker should as well be guided that there is no law restricting security agents from prosecuting any individual who crossed the line, particularly those fielding the public with lies, deception and misinformation. Journalist should also stop acting as if they are still in the era of imperial colonialism or fighting the unpopular apartheid regime. They must be socially responsible while upholding the principles of ethical practice. This is what I always tell every social media influencer, content maker, news publisher, and also a member of AMPON which today by God’s grace I a their president, I can say they are very disciplined and aw-abiding and have passion for the job and I am proud of them all.”
“A journalist must have a penchant for enhancing national unity and public good, and promote universal principles of human rights, democracy, justice, equity, peace and international understanding. hey must continually take into consideration the socio-cultural condition under which they are operate, even as they don’t lose sight of the universal commitments and requirements of the profession as well as the core values of the profession.”
“This is why we are appealing to Nigerians not to ever engage in a knee-jerk reaction to any news, and to subject every piece of information to a very serious scrutiny before admitting them as fact,” he said.
Arisekola further described the fake news phenomenon as ‘the scourge of our times’.