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Fake news, hate speech, guns for Nigerian politicians – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

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Whenever we think about how hate speech and fake news are affecting our democracy, we must also look at how inappropriate journalism is practiced in Nigeria.

Journalism is the creation and dissemination of reports on current events that are fact based and backed by evidence or evidence. Unfortunately the system in Nigeria is very different as some media organizations have switched the system to something else.

I remember the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) against Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election campaign and African Independent Television (AIT) against the same Muhammadu Buhari. These two media organizations almost blackmailed the incumbent president when he took office.

I also remember when Sahara Reporter criticized former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan when he was president in favor of then-retired Major General Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Chairman of the Public Service of the Borno State, Dr. Bulama Mali Gubio said during the Congress of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Borno State 2019: “What if someone can tell their lies and journalists don’t take it as news in their bulletin? ‘Hate speech cannot be encouraged’. Unfortunately, some journalists are in a hurry to get the news first without confirming the reliability of the story, which is not in keeping with the ethics of journalism.

It has also been observed that most of the fake news is only generated to generate hate speech by troublemakers, mainly to fuel conflict in society.

It has also been affirmed by a professor of mass communication and Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Kashere, Prof. Umaru Pate, that the trend is “dangerous, unethical, provocative and subversive for peace and social serenity.

“Fake news informs and misdirects society with serious consequences for individual and national systems. It increases tension, builds fear and distrust among people, ”he said.

Can we say that some of the journalists are now making these mistakes just because they haven’t gone through a mass communication department in tertiary institutions or what?

In fact, you will feel ashamed or sad when you read, watch or listen to some stories in some media in Nigeria. I’m sure you’ll understand that the editors don’t even know what they’re doing. Sahara Reporters and Desert Herald newspapers are a case study.

It has also been observed that some of the journalistic ethics such as “secrecy” lead some journalists to write nonsense and promote poor journalism in Nigeria.

The truth is; Like it or not, bad journalism paralyzes Nigeria and creates disagreement among Nigerians. We have even reached the point where the northerners are celebrating a disaster in southern Nigeria while the southerners are celebrating the disaster in the north.

Some politicians have also been found to work with some weak and corrupt journalists or media organizations to write and report on problems, only to damage the image of their opposition.

We also need to take into account the fact that fake news and hate speech are the main topics that people are always quick to share on social media. Social media has really done more harm than good in journalistic practice in Nigeria. Today almost everyone sees themselves as a journalist. Someone just writes something that is not worth sharing and posts it on social media behalf of news without abiding by the ethics of journalism.

The Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had declared that fake news could “threaten and destroy” the country and launched a campaign against it.

It is high time media professionals understood that fake news will cause their organization to lose credibility. Politicians should note that using fake news and hate speech as campaign weapons will never solve Nigeria’s problems and should put an end to the nonsense.

Gulani writes from the
Information unit,
Yobe State University, Damaturu.

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