Professional journalism key to tackling fake news, hate speech in Nigeria-Don

Dr. Aliyu making a presentation during the two-day workshop

By Elom Sunday

Dr. Ruqayyah Yusuf Aliyu of the Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, has observed that only professional journalism could silence circulation of fake news and hate speech in Nigeria.

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Dr. Aliyu stated this while making a presentation titled, “Hate Speech and Fake News: Imperatives of Ethics and Professionalism in Online Reporting in Nigeria,” at a two-day workshop organized by International Press Centre, (IPC), for Online Journalists/Bloggers on Conflict Sensitive Reporting Online, ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Stressing the need for Nigerian media to practice responsible journalism, she charged online journalists, bloggers and mainstream journalists to embrace professionalism in their reportage of issues so as to tackle the proliferation of fake news and hate speech in the country.

Aliyu noted that the media audience (online and mainstream) are rapidly losing trust on media contents because they have found it difficult to differentiate authentic news media platforms from the fake ones.

She explained fake news and hate speech as negative statements, comments, attributions to or fabricated stories on/about a particular group of persons, such as religious group, ethnic group among others.

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Participants at the event

According to her, “It could be inferred that this act is always perpetrated by person(s) who intentionally want to incite one group of persons against the other; mainly with the aim of eliciting conflict and chaos.”

Aliyu therefore maintained that if there must be a clear difference between fake and factual news, journalists (online and mainstream) and bloggers must: seek and report truth, act independently, be accountable and balanced in their reportage.

These virtues, according to her, will ensure: healthy-information-rich in the society, create conducive environment for democracy to thrive, maintain peace and harmony, safeguard the journalism profession, create opportunity for unity and appreciation of differences and diversities of the people and enthrones the perfect nation every Nigerian dreams for.

Th event held at Grand Pela Hotel and Suites, Abuja was attended by CRISPNG and other media practitioners from different parts of the country.

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