Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Tuesday in Abuja urged online publishers to ensure credibility in order to secure the future of online media in the country.
Mr. Adesina gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the official unveiling of `Sundiata Post’ online newspaper.
He said the call for credibility in online media was to ensure that the sector was not flooded by biased publishers.
“There is this saying that bad coins tend to drag good coins out of circulation. So, if we leave online publishing for the bad ones, the good ones cannot make a difference.
“We have the good, the bad and the ugly among online publishers; but when we have more of the good ones, the better for the country,” he said.
Veteran journalist, Mohammed Haruna, the keynote speaker at the event, said the invention of the Internet had transformed journalism into a truly all-comers’ trade.
Mr. Haruna spoke on the theme “Has Online Journalism Come of Age?”
He said the question assumed that the conflict between online media’s imperative of speed and the old media’s core value of accuracy was something new and something that the new media should overcome in time.
“This assumption is largely false. Depending on how much in a rush one is, there has always been conflict between accuracy and speed since the emergence of mass media in the 19th century.
“The difference is that the new media, in its rush to be in real time in the news, seems more wired to sacrifice accuracy on the altar of speed than the old media.
“As a result, online journalism tends to be less reliable than the offline journalism and on this ground, it can be argued that online journalism is less mature than the mainstream journalism.”
In his remarks, Emeka Mba, the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), described online journalism as a media for the coming generation.
Mr. Mba, represented by Awwalu Salihu, the Director of Public Affairs, NBC, also urged online publishers to focus on credibility, accuracy and professionalism so as to meet the needs of the society.
Max Amuche, the Publisher, Sundiata Post Online Newspaper, said that credibility and professionalism would continue to be the watchword of the platform.
He said that the publishers had set up a unifying body — the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP)– to ensure that the activity of the media is self-regulated.
Speaking at the event, the National Vice Chairman of GOCOP, Musikilu Mojeed, said owners of online media in the country are accomplished professionals some of whom he said had risen to the topmost management positions in some of Nigeria’s leading dailies.
Mr. Mojeed, who is the managing editor of PREMIUM TIMES, said GOCOP had been busy in the past months training its members on ethics and the latest trend in the media industry.
He hinted that GOCOP members would soon begin to name and shame charlatans passing themselves off as online newspaper publishers.
He also said the organisation was partnering relevant Nigerian authorities to descend heavily on thieves plagiarising the work of its members.