The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila said that Nigerian media must rise to the challenge of fake news, especially as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, saying such news would not do the country any good while no country would thrive if the media spreads falsehood.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi to commensurate the World Press Freedom Day celebrated every 3th of May, he said Nigerian media practitioners must resist every temptation that would make them promote reportage that is anti-people. He lauded the doggedness of the Nigerian media in reporting and helping in finding solutions to the challenges facing the country over the years, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day. “Although the Nigerian media has contributed a lot in stabilizing the country, it would not be out of place to call on media practitioners in the country to be more factual about their reportage of activities in the society with a view to promoting development”, he said.
Commenting on this year’s theme for the World Press Freedom Day, which is ‘Journalism Without Fear or Favour,’ Gbajabiamila said no country would thrive if the media spreads falsehood. He said the media must also support the government in its drive to make meaningful impact in the country as well as call the same government to order where it is evident that it drifts. “The choice is ours: either to make our country great through good reportage and analysis of issues, or to allow fake news and, in many cases, flagrant falsehood to take over the space.
At this age of social/online media, the onus is on the real journalists to make a difference. But I believe that the Nigerian media would not do anything that will take us backwards. I also want to believe that media practitioners in the country are ever committed to seeing the country move forward. “If that is the case, we must show patriotism in our dealings as media men and women.
We must fight fake news, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic. I also wish to pay tribute to journalists who have been working hard at the frontline of reporting this pandemic at great personal cost,” Gbajabiamila said.