The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buki Ponle, has advised members of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) to stay away from disinformation, misinformation and total lies that have characterized social media practice in the country now.
Buku Ponle, who spoke in Abuja when a delegation from the Guild, led by its President, Dotun Oladipo, paid him a courtesy visit in his office, further asked members of the Guild to use the noble platforms to correct the ills in the society and highlight many developmental strides of the present government.
“No matter what, criticisms are needed but when they are not healthy criticisms or not in line with development, they will bring reaction.”
“In recent times, we have witnessed news disinformation, misinformation and total lies just to serve a purpose, but it does not help us. It is high time we all looked forward to helping our country to get it out of this.”
The leaders and key members of the Guild were in the headquarters of the news agency to seek for partnership in the area of reducing the cost of its services being rendered to the platforms of the members, to which the NAN boss assured that it would review its operations, even as he appealed to Guild members to take what it could offer presently.
“We have in the past months reviewed our operations and added value; the ratings are there. I will urge you just to bear with us now. It is painful for us to review upwards. But how do we survive?
“We can only survive if we add just a little for us to do what you are expecting us to do.
“If NAN were to be a private organisation, it would either go down or increase its price to be at par with the market situation. To do it the previous way does not pay us.
“We have considered so many issues and put so many things into criticism before we came up with the slight increase we have added.”
Earlier, Dotun Oladipo said that the economic downturn had hit members of the Guild, even as he acknowledged the role NAN has been playing in the area of in intervention in terms of stories and wide coverage.
“But for the online platform, it has not worked that way; we discovered that for both government and private businesses the level of patronage has drastically dropped due to bad economy, which has led to downsizing in most places.
“Our records will testify that since we started, we have always fulfilled our part in terms of payment in spite of the level of hardship and COVID-19 pandemic challenges.”
Dotun Oladipo described the Guild as a body of eminently qualified journalists, adding that for one to qualify for its membership, the benchmark is that the journalist must have practiced for more than 10 years in a reputable organization.
According to him, the journalist must have risen to not less than the position of the level of an Assistant Editor to qualify to be a member to sustain professionalism.
“Because we have seen a lot of disinformation and falsehood online and the question has always been how to help the country to overcome this challenge.
“We have seen in the last couple of years how the social media has developed and being put to negative use by many Nigerians
“How do we step in when there is authentic information to dwell on and we also believe that with the number of years that those who are members of this association have put into journalism, they have a name and people who keep following them wherever they go.”