Published Aug 12, 2017 Greenbarge Reporters
President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), who had just stepped down, Musikilu Mojeed has narrated the measures taken by the Guild to make sure that only qualified and genuinely trained Journalists are registered to run online media in Nigeria.
Mojeed, who spoke shortly before handing over to the newly elected President, Dotun Oladipo, who was elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guild in Lagos, said that the Guild was formed about four years ago to check all forms of professional misconduct by new media proprietors and their journalists, “be it blackmail, fake news, rumour mongering, or copyright infringement.”
Mojeed, who said that GOCOP had only nine members at its inaugural meeting on October 9, 2013, said that now the membership has grown to 55 even as many more are queuing up to join.
“Yet, becoming a member of GOCOP does not come easy.
Our constitution demands that to be admitted:
a. You must have practised journalism for at least 10 years.
b. Non journalist who establishes an online news publication must appoint an editor who has practised for at least 10 years.
c. Your company must be registered as a media entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
d. Members must have verifiable and functional office in Nigeria.
e. You must have a minimum of two reporters and other layers of staff.
f. Your online publication must have been in existence for a minimum of one year.
g. You must be recommended by at least two financial members of the association.
h. To be admitted to the Association, the Screening Committee must certify that you have met the requirements (a to g) above.
You may lose membership:
a. If you fail to keep your financial obligations to the Association for at least three years.
b. If you are proven to have engaged in any form of unethical conduct.”
Mojeed said that GOCOP has an Ethics/Disciplinary Committee, adding that membership of GOCOP is usually revoked once it is proven that a member engaged in any form of misconduct.
“Over the years, we have peer-reviewed each other, and ensured that members remained on the path of professionalism. At one of our meetings we agreed to name and shame members who indulge in any form of professional misconduct. We have engaged authorities and private sector entities in our country on how to enhance professionalism in our country and deepen trust in the media.
Since the inception of this Guild, the online media space in Nigeria has ballooned.
“A number of online news platforms have sprung. This exponential growth has, understandably, come along with a lot of positives and not a few negative developments.
While this expansion in the space signify healthy increase in access to information by Nigerian citizens, as well as democratization of the space to give way for diversity of voices, it at the same time portends series of problems.
“Chief among these is the unhealthy dose of fake news and hate speech being dished out through some of these websites and blogs. Indeed, some of the platforms appear to have been set up solely for propaganda, smear campaigns or for the spreading of hate.
Just like security agencies and those in authority, we are equally worried about the proliferation of fake news sites that trade in fake news, and those who exist to spread hate. We are concerned beyond our standing as patriotic citizens but also as online publishers because of how the activities of some unscrupulous elements are giving us all a bad name.
While we will continue to advocate for widening of the space for citizens to express themselves, GOCOP is ready to support authorities concerned in a bid to sanitize this industry. “We however demand that all stakeholders, including this guild and all other identified Nigerian media stakeholders join hands to find solution to this problem. We are for sanity but we do not want a regulatory environment that gags or muscle the nation’s media space.”
Meanwhile, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, congratulated the Publisher of The Eagle Online, Dotun Oladipo, on his emergence as the President of GOCOP.
A statement by the Corps Public Education Officer of the FRSC, Bisi Kazeem, said that the Corps Marshal used the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Guild for the zeal with which the members have helped the Corps promote its safety messages through their different online platforms.
Kazeem said that the Corps Marshal equally congratulated Maureen Chigbo, the Publisher of RealNews magazine, who emerged the Deputy President of the Guild; Danlami Nmodu, Publisher of NewsDiary online as Secretary General; Segun Adeleye, Publisher of World Stage as Financial Secretary; Janet Mba-Afolabi, Publisher of the Scroll as Treasurer and Olumide Iyanda, Publisher of Qed.ng as Publicity Secretary.
Sep 03, 2015