Like every profession, journalism has its own code of ethics guiding the smooth practice of the profession.
Unfortunately, the emergence of citizen journalism and some social media platforms is jeopardizing the conventional journalists’ effort towards ensuring good and smooth practice of the profession, whereby every baboon and moron can use blog or any other social media platform to spread unreliable news contents.
Journalists are main to report things that will bring development to the society, as such, journalists are warned to be cautious while reporting and avoid confusing the public but citizens journalists have deviated from the laid down principles of the profession by reporting unnecessary and irrelevant material that are injurious to society.
Objectivity, fairness and balance are what professional journalists are charged to be ensured in their reportage so as to give equal voice to both parties but to citizens journalist is all about liking and popularity, and that’s why fake news is everywhere in Nigeria because all the want is money and that why the spread fake news.
As result, our societies are full of chaos and conflict everywhere; issues of communal clashes, arms banditry, kidnapping, rape, among others, have become rampant. Of course, fake news kills and destroys and even displaces people from their abodes.
Political, economy and social violence is everywhere. Citizen journalists have dismantled everything because they are everywhere; they even disturb the real journalists from holding government accountable for its action, not minding how the nation economy will be improved, and not longer settling dispute between the conflicting societies. The advent of citizen journalists is failing the journalism profession woefully and the effort of government in ensuring peaceful Nigeria.
Journalists in reality are serving as an intermediary, that is between the government and the governed but today citizen journalists are there to line their pockets, people’s welfare is not on their front page hence they are against the real orientation of the discipline.
All the need is brown envelope, and that’s why they manipulate stories to favour their source of information even if it’s of public interest. On this, I challenge the NUJ to ensure sanity in the conduct of their services, this can be done by ensuring every reporter is registered with the association.
Instead of allowing the trained journalists to perform their primary function of educating, entertaining, informing, surveillance, they end of misleading, mismanaging, misinforming, misadministering and misinterpreting issues to the public. They consider information manipulation as normal, normal in the sense that, no journalist is concern with the aftermath consequences of the report.
It’s indeed contrary to the moral principles of journalism profession. Journalists should themselves as societal doctors that they can kill and at the same time give life, and also improved in the nation’s health, so never allow the so called citizen Journalists to harm our societies.
Finally, as a result of the so called citezen journalist, our societies today are full conflicts, ranging from communal clashes, banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping, bribery and corruption among others. Being such the case, trianed journalists should wake up from their deep slumber and do the necessary to restore the image of the profession, and also protect the lives and property of our citizens. At the same time, government should regulate using such handle to reduce the spread of fake news among its populace.
Danlami Zakari Lumba,
Department of Mass Communication,
University of Maiduguri