President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the biggest threat to the journalism profession now is the uncontrolled and unregulated news platforms operating in the cyber space.
The President, who spoke when he received in audience at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, a delegation of the Nigerian Union of Journalists led by Chris Isiguzo at the State House, said: “I am sure you will all agree that the biggest threat to the sustainability and credibility of your profession is the uncontrolled and unregulated news platforms operating in the cyber space,’’ he said.
He asked members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists to devise a means to control the spread of false information, even as he noted that those who create alternative realit’’ on social media are steadily eroding the credibility of journalism.
“Your profession today is undergoing a fundamental shift. For better or worse, the digital space is now becoming the major outlet for ‘news’. This space is difficult to regulate and police. In many instances, the participants in this medium are not trained or professional journalists.
“The stories they present are neither factual nor true. However, through the digital platform, they are able to reach millions and create an alternate reality in their minds.”
The President noted that some misleading information in the social media were created and posted by people who lived outside the country.
“Many of the perpetrators of these acts do not even live within our shores. However, they have been able to damage the reputation of hard working Nigerian journalists while at the same time promoting conflict and divisions within our society.”
President Buhari however commended Nigerian journalists for the effective coverage of the 2019 elections, pointing out that many, out of patriotism, went beyond their call of duty and took risks to ensure full and balanced reporting of the election.
He assured the NUJ that security agencies will do their best to protect journalists, especially in hostile environments.
He also assured Nigerians that his administration will in the next four years, pursue inclusive and transparent policies that will guarantee security and economic safety of every citizen.
“As I look to the next four years, I will remain committed to a safe and secure nation; creating an inclusive and diversified economy; and a governance system that is free of corrupt practices. In all these areas, we will remain transparent in implementing our policies.’’
The President of the NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, congratulated the President on winning the 2019 Presidential elections, attributing the victory to his integrity and commitment to the development of the nation.
Isiguzo said that the union is concerned by the growing number of media casualties in Nigeria, and across the continent, as they carry out their duties, calling on the Federal and State governments to take effective measures in protecting journalists.
‘‘Sir, we also wish to encourage your administration to evolve better ways of impacting positively on the lives of Nigerians who feel marginalized from the mainstream of Nigeria’s social, economic and political activities.”