Ex Ogun State Governor and media guru, Aremo Olusegun Osoba said in Lagos on Friday that online publications have come to stay globally even as he advised the publishers to be mindful of the progress, peace and security of the country in their publications.
Speaking as the chairman at the second annual conference of Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos, Chief Osoba said the theme of the conference “Online Publishers Role Towards A Sustainable Economy, Credible Election and Security in Nigeria’, was timely in view of preparations for the 2019 general elections.
He noted that with online journalism, what was seen as the future has become the present saying, at the touch of a laptop or tablet keyboard, information now travels across geographical space and time zones.
His words, “What was deemed impossible has become real. The world is only a click away. Since your parley touches on the media, the economy and security, you have chosen a topical subject that deserves serious consideration at a very important period in our national life”.
Osoba said he was delighted that the association, a new development in the media, is waxing stronger as an important player in the industry, adding however, that the development is “both exhilarating and bewildering.
“It is positive as it opens the world to greater exploration. It could also be negative as the ease and race to share information is open to great abuse if met with lack of sufficient care and diligence.
“It is this abuse manifested in the shape of fake news, unverified information and the inclination for mischief and blackmail by some bloggers that threatens the integrity of the online medium.
“It is a global concern that you need to continuously look into. How can we reduce the proclivity for this errant behavior? How much training and retraining can you put together for your members and other online practitioners to ensure we do not allow the menace to grow?”
Noting that he was aware that the association is made up of responsible journalists, Osoba said, “but all it takes for your reputation to be soiled is a handful of the deviant people, who have other objectives for their presence in the public sphere.”
He said he would be looking forward to the outcome of the deliberations, noting that when the subjects of discourse touch the economy, credible elections and security of the country, there is no doubt that there is a lot to chew upon.
“Precipitate publications on the economy without appropriate contextual analysis are not the forte of responsible journalism. Naked partisanship that downplays the views and positions of some candidates so as to promote our biases is not the way to build credibility for our news organizations or the electoral process’.
“It is good to get the news first but it is certainly better to get it right. Your association should drum this point into the hearing of your members for if there is a medium that has the greatest potential to stoke conflict through precipitate and unverified information, it is the online media’
“In a country with still a large population of the uneducated, we must be careful not to unwittingly stoke violent conflicts, stunt economic development and imperil the future of our people.”
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