Osinbajo Calls on Media to fight Fake News

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Osinbajo Calls on Media to fight Fake News
Chinedu Ibeakanma
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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN)  has called on the media to join the fight against fake news. Osinbajo noted that the systemic rot engendered by secrecy and opacity in governance was no longer the main threat to a normal functioning Nigeria, but the proliferation of fake news.

The Vice-President spoke yesterday at the presentation of  a book, titled: The Making of the Nigerian Flagship: the Story of The Guardian, in Lagos.

In a statement by the  Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President,   Laolu Akande,  Prof. Osinbajo suggested that the media should approach the fight against fake news by realizing the import of their power as the gatekeepers of facts.

The statement reads: “Even as we strive to make governance more transparent and accountable in its workings and to abandon the habits of secrecy and opacity that became deeply ingrained during military rule, we have realized that abuse of state power is not the only threat to the liberal tradition. Right now, we also have to deal with issues such as the proliferation of fake news.

“Almost daily, fake news or mischievously manipulated news is trafficked with the clear intent of warping the perception of reality and inducing conflict.

“It is said that journalism is the first rough draft of history. It is true that reportage shapes the perception and understanding of events. It shapes memories and can influence behavior for good or for ill.”

“There are arguably no bigger influencers than those who report and interpret the world to us. This is considerable power and it comes with responsibility.”

Osinbajo that the media, as the fourth estate, must demonstrate a greater awareness of the society, while upholding the principles of balance, objectivity, and fair hearing.

According to him, while it is true that freedom of expression is enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, society depends upon the responsible exercise of freedom.

“Nation-building is not the sole preserve of politicians and governments; in fact, it is just as much a task for civil society of which the press is an important member,” he stated.

Acknowledging the significant role of the Nigerian media in actualising democracy, the Vice-President urged media men to continue to speak truth to power.

 

This post was written by Chinedu Ibeakanma.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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